Excuse the president from The Hague – NCCK

November 27, 2013 3:41 pm
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NCCK General Secretary Reverend Canon Peter Karanja said the court should expedite the process to ensure the cases are concluded/FILE
NCCK General Secretary Reverend Canon Peter Karanja said the court should expedite the process to ensure the cases are concluded/FILE

, NAIROBI Kenya, Nov 27- The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) wants President Uhuru Kenyatta case in The Hague to continue but cautions against the requirement to have him physically present during the entire trial session.

The council says the absence of the President who is the nation’s symbol of unity may affect the countries unity.

Addressing journalists on Wednesday, NCCK General Secretary Reverend Canon Peter Karanja said the court should expedite the process to ensure the cases are concluded.

“In view of the impact of the trials facing the two on the social, economic and political welfare of Kenya, we urge the ICC to expedite the process and conclude the cases as soon as possible,” he said.

“The ICC must ensure that justice is done for the victims, the witnesses and the suspects.”

The council also urged the ongoing Assembly of States Parties meeting at The Hague to put the safety of the country into consideration while reaching their decision.

“ICC can only operate within regulations and procedures enshrined on the floor; it would be important for the Assembly of States Parties to deal with this matter keenly and sensitively so that the National Security and well being of Kenya is not compromised by the attendance,” he stated.

On Tuesday (November 26), The Hague based court ruled that President Uhuru Kenyatta will now be required to be physically present during his trial slated for February 5, next year.

This was after the Trial Chamber reversed its earlier decision which excused Kenyatta from continuous presence from trial.

The Prosecution had, on October 25, challenged the decision of the court and asked it to reverse it.

The notice by the prosecution to challenge Kenyatta’s excusal from continuous presence came after the Appeal’s Chamber reversed a similar decision in which Deputy President William Ruto had also been allowed by Trial Chamber V (a) to skip sessions of his trial.

Just like the Appeal’s Chamber on Ruto’s decision, Trial Chamber V (b) reversed the decision and said that Kenyatta can ask for excusal from continuous presence on specific occasions; “any future requests for excusal will be considered on a case-by-case basis.”

Earlier the judges had allowed Kenyatta to skip sessions of his trial but 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.

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