NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 29 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) trial against Deputy President William Ruto and former radio presenter Joshua arap Sang has been extended by a week.
The trial was to take a break on November 1 but Trial Chamber V(a) Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji said on Tuesday that it would continue until November 8.
This is after the Prosecution indicated that the court had lost time last week discussing other matters including the decision excusing Ruto from being physically present and it would not be possible to conclude proceedings with two prosecution witnesses by November 1, as scheduled.
Senior Prosecution Attorney Anton Steynberg explained that witness P0268 was still giving his testimony and witness P0423 was already at The Hague waiting to take the stand.
“For now what we want to do is limit ourselves to witnesses who are already here and I understand we only have two including the one on the stand. So let’s not call any more witnesses for now,” said the judge.
“We will proceed until the 8th of November and complete with those witnesses in that time.”
Ruto’s lead counsel Karim Khan said that he had no problem with the extension but that Ruto required excusal from the court.
Khan explained that the Deputy President had made other obligations based on the initial court schedule and to force him to be physically present at trial during the extension would be unfair.
“What we will ask for because of Mr Ruto’s own commitments and that he was operating under the presumption of the court schedule is that he be excused for next week and the trial takes place without him,” explained Khan.
Sang’s lead lawyer Katwa Kigen also explained the difficulty his client would have at being forced to be physically present at the court during the extension.
Kigen explained that Sang had familial arrangements that had been made to accommodate him on the basis of the original court schedule and it would also be unfair to force him miss out on them.
“He had made commitments on family issues; some of them had to be rearranged to accommodate his absence. He would be in an extremely difficult situation if he were to be required to be present,” argued Kigen.
Judge Eboe-Osuji however said that the court would deal with that matter at a later date forcing Steynberg to steer clear of the debate.