, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 4 – The decision whether the start of William Ruto and Joshua arap Sang’s trial for crimes against humanity will be held in Kenya or Tanzania will be made by at least 12 judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The court clarified on Tuesday that the recommendation of Trial Chamber V(A) was not final and will have to be deliberated upon by a plenary of ICC judges before the trial date.
A Statement by the Public Affairs Unit said: “This recommendation by the chamber is only one step in the procedure – set out in Rule 100 of the Rules of Procedures and Evidence – as the final decision on where the court shall sit for the trial will be made in due course by ICC judges.”
The Hague-based court has 18 judges and the quorum for each plenary session is two-thirds of the judges – or 12. In the event of an equality of votes, the president, or the judge acting in the place of the president, has a casting vote.
Under ICC’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence, verdicts such as deciding in which state the court will sit other than the host state have to be taken by the majority of the judges present at plenary.
The plenary of judges will look into the feasibility of whether conducting the opening and possibly other hearings of the Ruto and Sang case in Kenya or Tanzania will serve the interest of justice.
Despite the recommendation by Trial Chamber V(A), 82 percent of the 50 victims admitted to participate in the trial want it to be held at The Hague citing security fears for victims’ and witnesses’ intimidation.
Trial Chamber V(A) recommended to the presidency that it may be desirable to hold the commencement of trial and other portions of the trial in Kenya or, alternatively, in Tanzania.
“While the seat of the court is in The Hague (Netherlands), where the court considers that it would be in the interests of justice, it may decide to sit in a state other than the Netherlands,” the court explained in a statement on Monday.
Trial Chamber V(A) said that it made the recommendation after analysing the benefits of bringing justice closer to the victims and also after looking at the issues of security for victims and witnesses in these proceedings.
The judges said that they had also considered the need to ensure a fair and impartial trial free of any undue influence.
“The chamber is of the view that all these considerations need to be taken into account. Therefore, the chamber considers that the holding of the commencement and other portions of the trial particularly in Kenya would strike the right balance,” read the recommendation.
Trial Chamber V(A) on Monday also set September 10 as the new date when Ruto and Sang will start facing trial for crimes against humanity.