, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 22 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) Appeals Chamber will on Friday, October 25 decide if Deputy President William Ruto will be excused from continuous presence in court during his trial.
Trial Chamber V(a) had earlier allowed Ruto to skip sessions of his trial to attend to his State duties but on the ICC Prosecutor’s appeal, the Appellate Chamber suspended the decision and ordered him to continue attending the trial until their verdict is made.
The prosecutor said that the Rome Statute requires all suspects to be present during their trial.
“The Appeals Chamber of the ICC has announced that, on Friday, 25 October at 09:00 (The Hague local time), it will deliver its judgment on the Prosecutor’s appeal against the decision by Trial Chamber V(a) granting William Samoei Ruto a conditional excusal from being present at his trial,” the Public Affairs Unit indicated in a statement.
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said allowing Ruto to skip some sessions of his trial was giving him special treatment which is not accorded to his co-accused Joshua arap Sang.
Ruto is facing trial in the same case with ex-radio presenter Sang while President Uhuru Kenyatta faces trial alone in the second Kenyan case expected to begin on November 12.
On August 20, the ICC ordered Ruto to be present during all sessions of his trial, pending the full determination of the appeal by the prosecutor.
Bensouda accused Trial Chamber V (a) of applying the Rome Statute selectively by allowing Ruto to skip some of the trial sessions, which she said was in contravention of Article 63(1), which requires accused persons to be continuously present during trial.
In its ruling on June 18, Trial Chamber V(a) directed Ruto to be physically present during crucial sessions among them the opening and closing statements of all parties in the case, during issuance of the chamber’s verdict, when the victims are making their submissions and during the reparation hearings.
He was also told he would be required to be in court upon the request of the chamber.
Ruto had asked to be allowed to skip continuous presence due to his duties as the Deputy President of Kenya.
Kenyatta who had also made a similar application was on Friday allowed by the Trial Chamber V(b) to skip sessions of his trial based on his duties as the President of the Republic of Kenya.
Majority of judges said they granted Kenyatta the application in respect of his rights and also in consideration of protection of victims and witnesses.
The judges however made it mandatory for him to attend the opening and closing statements of all parties to the case and during the presentation of victims’ views.
Kenyatta will also be required in person during the sentencing hearings, delivery of the sentence, during the impact hearings of victims and also during reparation hearings.
He will also be required to appear upon the request of the chamber. So far, the prosecution has not responded to the ruling of the Trial Chamber V (b).