, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 31 – Deputy President William Ruto is back in The Hague for the continuation of his trial before the International Criminal Court.
The Deputy President left Kenya at 10:30pm on Wednesday night after President Uhuru Kenyatta returned from his three day trip to Rwanda.
“Among those who saw him off were parliamentarians led by Aden Duale and Professor Kithure Kindiki who are Majority Leaders in both Houses,” a statement from the Deputy President’s Press Service said.
Assuming he makes no other applications to be allowed to travel back to the country, the Deputy President will be at the Hague until November 8 when his trial is scheduled to pave way for President Kenyatta’s trial currently set to commence on November 12.
The first phase of the Deputy President’s trial was initially set to conclude on Friday but was extended to allow Trial Chamber V(a) make up for lost time.
“We wanted to draw your attention to the announcement made by the Presiding Judge of Trial Chamber V(a) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) that the trial hearings in the case The Prosecutor v. William Samoei Ruto and Joshua Arap Sang will proceed until November 8, 2013 and not until November 1, 2013 as previously scheduled,” a statement from the Public Affairs Unit of the ICC reads.
This was necessitated by the early adjournment of the proceedings when the Prosecution was not ready to call its first witness and the subsequent Westgate terror attack that required the Deputy President to return to the country putting the trial several days behind schedule.
But as Ruto returns, his co-accused Joshua arap Sang on Wednesday filed an application to be allowed to attend his six-year old daughter’s pre-school graduation as the trial continues in his absence.
“He had assured his daughter that he would attend that graduation and is afraid that if he doesn’t attend the girl will not understand why he did not attend because the girl is not able to understand the ICC proceedings,” Sang’s lawyer Katwa Kigen told the court on Wednesday.
The trial chamber judges are expected to rule on the application on Thursday as the graduation ceremony is slated for Friday.
“The request is made for the limited purpose of him being absent only on November 1; not any other day. The court will recall that he has been sitting through all the sessions,” Kigen appealed on his client’s behalf.
Prosecution trial lawyer Anton Steynberg however opposed the application arguing that the charges facing Sang trump his daughter’s pre-school graduation in importance.
“One is always reluctant to disappoint children and I sympathise with my learned friend. However there are limits within which the courts must operate and the limits which the Appeals Chamber had set down do not allow for excusal to be able to attend family occasions,” he said.