, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 30 – Judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Trial Chamber V (B) judges have invited parties in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s case to give submissions on their preferred venue between Kenya and Tanzania for opening of his trial.
In an order issued on Monday evening, the judges asked the parties to give their views by August 13 on the preferred seat of the Kenyatta trial.
“For the foregoing reasons, the chamber directs the prosecution, the Kenyatta defence, the common legal representative for victims and the registry to file, no later than 13 August 2013, observations on the propriety of the chamber considering the matter of the place for trial on its own, and the issue whether the opening of trial and/or another appropriate portion of trial shall be held in Kenya or Tanzania,” the order says.
The judges said a similar submission filed on December, 2012 by former Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura cannot be relied upon because his charges were dropped.
Before his charges were dismissed, Muthaura had asked the judges to consider moving the trial to either Kenya or Tanzania.
The prosecution, Uhuru’s defence, the common legal representative for victims and the registry are now required to file submissions in time for a decision ahead of the trial set to kick off on November 12.
A similar application made in January 2013 by Ruto’s and Sang’s defence teams was rejected and the judges agreed that their trial will be heard at the seat of The Hague court.
In their rejection on July 15, the judges made several considerations which included the high costs that the court would have to incur if the trials were not heard in The Hague.
They also factored in the security of victims and witnesses which has been a concern raised by victims and the Office of The Prosecutor (OTP) as much as they were paying attention to the principal of bringing the trials closer home as possible.
The court further considered the impression it will create if the trials (opening statements) are heard in Kenya or Tanzania.
In an earlier interview with Capital FM News, the lawyer for victims in the Kenyatta case Fergal Gaynor said majority of the victims he represents also want Kenyatta’s trial heard at the seat of The Hague.
He said he had made a submission to the court asking it to consider the wishes of the victims in regards to Kenyatta’s application seeking to be tried at the seat of Kenya or Arusha.
“We have made our observation in filings to the court. We have informed the court and of the victims we have consulted directly overwhelming majority want the trials to take place in The Hague not in Nairobi or Arusha,” he said.