, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 26 – Deputy President William Ruto has now petitioned the International Criminal Court (ICC) to postpone his trial from May to November.
In an application filed on Thursday, Ruto argues that his right to adequate time for preparation will not be safeguarded if the trial is held on May 28 as scheduled.
His lead counsel Karim Khan said the ICC prosecution’s office had become a burden by failing to provide the defence with timely information.
“The defence, as the chamber has recognised, has been operating under a significant burden due to the office of the prosecutor’s failure to provide timely and effective disclosure,” Khan submitted in his application.
He said: “The prosecutor’s continued dilatory disclosure to the defence as well as its general approach to the prosecution of this case has rendered the May 28 date absolutely unviable if the fair trial rights of Mr Ruto are to be guaranteed.”
“For the reasons submitted here-in, the defence requests that the chamber set a new trial date for no earlier than November 2013 so as to provide Mr Ruto and his defence team adequate time to conduct the investigations necessary to properly prepare for his trial.”
During the March 8 decision concerning the start date of the trial, the chamber determined that the prejudice to the defence arising from delayed OTP disclosure and the expanded temporal focus of the OTP case necessitated the chamber postponing the original trial commencement date of April 10 to May 28 so that the defence could continue with its investigations.
The defence team is particularly concerned that the prosecutor had delayed in providing the identity of one witness until April 17 and have yet to disclose the identity of another witness.
They have also accused the prosecutor’s office of maintaining what they term ‘heavy redactions in the footnotes of the pre-trial brief.’
Ruto’s defence team argues that failure by the prosecutor’s office to provide identities of redacted witnesses is hampering their progress because they cannot adequately prepare for the May date.
“It is untenable and contrary to the Article 67 (1) (b) rights of Mr Ruto for a trial to proceed on the 28th of May under these circumstances,” the defence team said.
The trial chamber has set Ruto’s trial for May 28 while President Uhuru Kenyatta’s trial is scheduled to take place in July.
Both Kenyatta and Ruto are indicted for crimes against humanity committed during the 2008 post-election violence which followed a disputed election in Kenya.
The third accused person is former journalist Joshua arap Sang who is Ruto’s co-accused person.
Three other suspects-ex Civil Service chief Francis Muthaura, former police chief Hussein Ali and ex-cabinet minister Henry Kosgey were acquitted for lack of evidence.