NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 14 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) Appeals Chamber has allowed Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Eritrea and Uganda to file submissions why Deputy President William Ruto should be excused from continuous presence during their trials.,
A statement sent from The Hague-based Court said that these States had been allowed to file their observations to the judges but must do so by 4pm on September 18.
On June 18, Trial Chamber V (a) issued a decision excusing Ruto from being continuously physically present at trial, except for specified hearing.
The Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda however appealed against this decision and the Judges directed Ruto to attend all his trials before the appeal was determined.
“A Chamber may, if it considers it desirable for the proper determination of the case, invite or grant leave to a State, organisation or person to submit, in writing or orally, any observation on any issue that the Chamber deems appropriate,” read the statement.
On September 10, the African Union (AU) wrote to the ICC complaining about how the Court has been treating the Kenyan President and his Deputy. The AU asked for the stoppage of the trials because there was a pending appeal by the AU to have the cases referred back home.
In the letter co-signed by AU Chairperson Hailemariam Desalegn and AU Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the Union observed that the judges had suspended an earlier decision because of a pending appeal.
“The Trial Chamber in its earlier decision had taken cognisance of the Deputy President’s constitutional responsibilities on which basis the Court permitted him to attend only some sessions. On these grounds the Court should have upheld its decision pending the determination of the Prosecutor’s appeal,” argued the AU.
While asking for the halting of the trials, the Union also accused the Court of being unfair and prejudicial in the manner in which it has been handling the Kenya cases.
The Appeals Chamber will issue its decision on the Prosecutor’s appeal in due course.
“While Kenya has always cooperated and reiterated its commitment to continue cooperating with the Court, it must do so in the context of its own constitutional requirements,” argued the AU.