NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 25 – The International Criminal Court on Friday excused Deputy President William Ruto from attending his trial for three days to hold brief for President Uhuru Kenyatta who will be travelling to a regional security meeting in Rwanda.
Trial Chamber V(a) Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji in his ruling said Ruto was granted the application after concession between the prosecution and defence.
Ruto is expected back in the Hague next Wednesday.
“So we are left with no doubts as to what has been done. The ruling is on the basis of concession of the parties that the court grants the request of the defence,” Eboe-Osuji ruled.
Lawyer Karim Khan explained to the court that President Kenyatta will be attending the important security meeting with other leaders from the region and therefore it would be out of order if Kenyatta failed to be present.
Basing his argument on the Constitution of Kenya which requires that either the President or his deputy must always be present in the country, Khan told the court that for Kenyatta to be away, Ruto is required to sit in until when he returns from Rwanda.
He told the court that he would be back upon the return of Kenyatta. However he said to ensure that court’s time is not wasted and fairness of the accused persons including the victims and witnesses, the trial should continue in the absence of Ruto but in presence of his defence team.
Khan’s request came moments after the Appeals Chamber reversed a decision of Trial Chamber V(a) which had allowed Ruto from continuous presence during his trial.
The Appeals Chamber said Ruto can be allowed to skip sessions only under exceptional circumstances which will be based on case-by-case.