NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 6 – The lawyer for victims in Deputy President William Ruto’s case before International Criminal Court (ICC) prefers the trials being held in Arusha.
The victims’ legal representative Wilfred Nderitu told Capital FM News in an interview that Arusha was a better option for all victims who would have liked to attend the hearings and cannot make it to The Hague.
“This is because it is important to have some ownership of the process and in my view it trickles down to more representative participation of the victims,” he argued.
“There is need to build our own regional institutions and also have more visibility for criminal justice.”
However most of the 700 victims he represents want the trials heard in the Netherlands-based court.
Nderitu added that having the trials in Arusha would promote regional justice noting that the Rome Statute underpinned the need to have crimes tried as close to the scene of crime as possible.
He further observed that majority of the victims were in Kenya and once the proceedings started only a handful could travel to The Hague to participate.
In his application to the court in February, the legal representative of the victims indicated that after interviewing 50 victims, 41 said they wanted proceedings to be held at The Hague.
Nderitu however felt that the victims did not have sufficient reasons for opposing the Arusha option.
“A good number of them said they should be held at The Hague because they want the victims to feel how they ‘felt’. This is not a legitimate reason,” he asserted.
Only 290 victims out of the 700 have been confirmed to participate in the trials so far but the process of selecting others is ongoing.
He further revealed that the victims were looking forward to the speedy conclusion of the cases in addition to praying for a credible judicial process.
“There are those who want to see the process go to its logical conclusion and are particularly concerned that it is fair. There are others entitled to reparations- a fairly important concern,” he explained.