, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 17 – Deputy President William Ruto has hired Karim Khan to defend him at his trial before the International Criminal Court.
The Queens Counsel successfully represented former Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura whose charges were dropped on March 11.
Khan joins David Hooper, Kioko Kilukumi and Shyamala Alagendra who are on the deputy president’s defence team.
Already, Khan has filed an application for Ruto not to appear before the court during his trial.
The defence team invoked a provision in the court’s rules that allows an accused person to waive his rights for personal appearance before the court.
“The right of an accused to be tried in his presence is an internationally recognised right. It is also recognised, including in the practice of this court, that an accused can waive the right to be present at trial provided his fair trial rights are otherwise guaranteed,” his lawyers argue in their application.
“Having been fully informed of the implications, Mr William Samoei Ruto wishes to waive his right to be present at his upcoming trial,” the application states.
Ruto does not however seek a blanket waiver and “has undertaken to attend the opening and closing of trial, judgment and all other hearings at which his attendance is requested by the Trial Chamber, or sessions he may choose to attend,” according to his lawyers.
The lawyers will regularly submit a signed document from the deputy president re-affirming his consent to the waiver.
In the Muthaura case, Khan asked the Trial Chamber to determine if it was proper to confirm the charges when the prosecution had failed to disclose potentially exonerating evidence it had in its possession during the confirmation of charges hearings.
He also asked the chamber to decide if the trial should proceed after the prosecution dropped the evidence and the witness who alleged that Muthaura attended the core planning meetings.
The lawyer accused the prosecutor of having misled the Pre-Trial Chamber about evidence given by Witness 4 to reach the conclusion of a common plan by Muthaura and co-accused Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta.
Later, the prosecutor informed the Trial Chamber of her motion to drop all charges against Muthaura since only evidence given by Witness 4 was used to confirm his case.
The ICC Prosecutor informed the court that Witness 4 had lied to the court which led to his withdrawal from the case.