, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 17 – A judge of the International Criminal Court has rejected Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s request to amend Deputy President William Ruto and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang’s charges to include crimes allegedly committed in Eldoret on December 30 and 31, 2007.
ICC Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova of Pre-Trial Chamber II said authorizing an amendment of the charges in the absence of any justification as to the belated nature of the prosecutor’s request on an issue that had been crucial since the confirmation of charges hearing would result in an unfair burden for the defence.
She ruled it would require much time to conduct its investigation on the extended temporal scope of the charges in the greater Eldoret area.
“If one compares the prosecutor’s follow up in this case concerning her request for the amendment of the charges and the time-frame taken to seize this chamber, with the manner in which the prosecutor handled a similar request in the Kenyatta case, the lack of diligence, organization and efficiency on the part of the prosecutor in the present case becomes evident,” Trendafilova said in her ruling.
“If such procedural performance were to be tolerated, this would taint the fairness and expeditiousness of the entire proceedings,” she added.
Judge Trendafilova also said the prosecutor’s argument that the rights of the defence will not be prejudiced as a result of granting permission for the proposed amendment at this stage cannot be sustained.
She said parties and participants in a case are expected to prepare on the basis of the charges as confirmed which shape the subject-matter of the case, and thus, to take into consideration the evidence that is only relevant to the charges confirmed.
“The single judge wishes to make clear that one cannot assume that the defence is currently in a fair position to prepare its case on the basis of facts and charges related to particular dates which were explicitly rejected by this chamber in the confirmation of charges decision.”
The prosecutor contended that since the confirmation of charges hearing, she has obtained evidence from 12 witnesses who allege that crimes were committed in Kimumu, Langas, Yamumbi and Huruma soon after the announcement of the presidential election results on 30 December 2007.