NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 24 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) has rejected a plea by President Uhuru Kenyatta to postpone his trial date to January 2014 due to an ongoing probe into telephone data.
While disallowing the request, Trial Chamber V (B) said that the Head of State had not provided sufficient grounds why his trial commencement date should be pushed from November 12 to January 2014.
The judges led by Kuniko Ozaki further accused Kenyatta of trying to push the commencement of his trial date through the back door after the Chamber declined to alter it as initially requested.
“Ultimately it is the view of the Chamber that the defence’s request for an adjournment until January 2014 is in fact no more than a request for reconsideration of the adjournment decision,” said judges Ozaki, Robert Fremr and Chile Eboe-Osuji.
Kenyatta had asked the Chamber to push his trial date to give him time to gather enough data, which would exonerate him, from mobile telephone service providers.
He wanted time to gather the data which he says would have helped him identify mobile telephone numbers and mobile telephones used by significant Prosecution witnesses at material times.
According to a statement sent from the ICC, Kenyatta’s defence team had indicated that the data evidence that would have been presented would have had a huge impact on the case but that it required sufficient time to collect.
“The defence averred that this investigation will produce evidence ‘of such fundamental importance’ that it needs to be properly considered by the parties. Therefore, it argued, the trial should not commence ‘just […] because a timetable has been set’,” read the statement.
While dismissing Kenyatta’s request, the judges also noted that the Kenyan leader did not need nine months to gather the evidence.
The initial commencement date of Kenyatta’s trial was April 11, 2013 but it was pushed to July 9, 2013 and once again revised, before the judges settled on November 12, 2013.
The judges explained that the President had had enough time to gather this evidence.
“The Chamber is not persuaded that the defence requires such an extensive additional amount of time (nearly nine months after the original commencement date of 11 April 2013) in order to carry out investigations and otherwise adequately prepare for trial,” the judges argued.
In its submissions, the Prosecution had also accused Kenyatta’s team of attempting to push for an extension of the commencement date through mischief.
“The Prosecution submitted that the defence’s request for adjournment is an attempt to reintroduce the defence’s previous application to postpone the commencement of trial until January 2014,” read the statement.
“According to the Prosecution, there is no basis for requesting such reconsideration, as no new submissions had been presented to the Chamber compared to those previously made.”