NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 26 – Attorney General Githu Muigai has said that it is not in the interest of Kenya that President Uhuru Kenyatta attends his trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
In an interview with France 24 TV, the AG said the demand by the ICC is ‘unfair and unreasonable’ to compel a sitting Head of State to stand trial instead of being in Kenya performing his state duties.
“It is the considered opinion of the Republic of Kenya that it is undesirable and counter-productive to require a sitting Head of State or his deputy, both very busy people running the state to be in such sort of situation,” the AG told the TV station in an interview, a day after the court’s Appeals chamber reversed a ruling issued trial judges that had conditionally allowed him to skip some sessions of his trial.
During the interview, Muigai said he did not see any important role the accused persons were playing in court during the trial, since they are not actively involved in the proceedings.
“If you have been following the proceedings so far, you will notice that there is no interaction whatsoever to any accused person. We think it is an unreasonable demand,” Muigai asserted.
The AG further indicated that Kenya will continue cooperating with court “but as long as the cooperation falls within the laws in the constitution of Kenya and its interpretation of the Rome Statute.”
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda appealed the decision issued by Trial Chamber V (a) judges to allow Deputy President William Ruto to skip sessions of his trial, a decision that was on Friday reversed by the Appeal’s Chamber.
The prosecution argued that the Rome Statute requires all accused persons to be present in person during their trial.
In the Friday ruling, the Appeal’s Chamber however allowed Ruto to seek for excusal only under exceptional circumstances and on case-by-case basis.
Trial Chamber V (b) also allowed President Kenyatta to skip sessions of his trial to allow him to attend to his duties as the President of the Republic of Kenya, in what Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda want overturned.
On Friday, the Office of the Prosecutor strongly indicated its intention to challenge the decision by either asking Trial Chamber V (b) judges to reverse it or be allowed to file an appeal.
Kenyatta later on Friday through his lawyer asked the court to vacate his trial date from November 12 to a date after February 12 next year.