, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 9 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) has reversed a timetable released last week requiring both President Uhuru Kenyatta, his Deputy William Ruto and former radio personality Joshua arap Sang to have their trials held at the same time over the period between November 12 and December 13 this year.
The Court’s Judges now say that having the trials concurrently is a bad idea because it would bring confusion and disrupt the Judges from paying full attention to each of the cases.
Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji instead announced that the trials would alternate in blocks with a minimum of 4 weeks so that the Court can hear the cases fully and avoid disruptions.
The Court had in its tentative timetable indicated that the Kenyatta and Ruto would have to be away for an entire month, raising concerns.
“The Chambers preference would be in sitting in alternating periods of a judicial calendar. This will entail a minimum block of four weeks of the judicial calendar exclusively devoted to one case relative to the companion case,” he noted.
The decision comes a day after President Kenyatta told a public rally in Ruiru that there will be a power vacuum in the country if their trials are held at the same time.
Judge Eboe-Osuji did not however, make reference to Kenyatta’s concerns, only saying they require total concentration on each case hence the need to stagger the trial dates.
He also observed that having the trials held at the same time would not mean that they will progress any faster but that it will reduce the efficiency of the Court.
“Sitting in periodic tandems in which both cases are heard either on the same day, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon or on alternating days, holds no real prospect for increased speed for either case or both,” he added.
Kenyatta had also said that he would not go to The Hague based Court if it meant that both he and Ruto are away at the same time because he had national responsibilities which he would not shirk.
The Trial Chamber V (a) had earlier in the day turned down the Prosecution’s request to disclose two new witnesses at a later date.
The Chamber instead directed them to furnish the Defence with that information within the set timeline of the judicial calendar.