NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 5 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) will on Wednesday hold a status conference in the case against President Uhuru Kenyatta, after the Prosecution sought a three month adjournment to “undertake additional investigative steps” in the case.
This is after Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda admitted to no longer having sufficient evidence to sustain her case against the Kenyan Head of State.
As a result of this admission, Kenyatta’s defence team asked the Trial Chamber V(b) to dismiss Bensouda’s request and drop the trial altogether.
However the victims of the post-election violence through their Common Legal Representative of Victims favoured the Prosecution’s proposal and requested to be enjoined in the status conference.
The trial judges consequently vacated Kenyatta’s trial start date and opted for the status conference, during which the issues raised by the three parties will be discussed.
“The Chamber considers it appropriate to convene a status conference pursuant to rule 132(2) of the rules to discuss issues raised by the parties in relation to the prosecution request and the defence response to be held on Wednesday 5, February 2014,” ruled the Chamber on January 23, 2014.
It is also important to note that when the Chamber was making its decision, Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji had a dissenting view from that held by his colleagues Judges Kuniko Ozaki (presiding) and Robert Fremr.
He wanted a public hearing held before the start date was vacated because he believed that the request for an adjournment and that to drop the case were two different items.
“I am however of the view that due to both the public significance that this case has acquired and the concerns raised by the defence it would have been more appropriate to hold a public hearing prior to the decision to vacate the date set for trial,” he said.
Some of the witnesses that Bensouda was relying on confessed to giving false testimony while others indicating that they no longer wished to participate in the case.
She has at the same time accused the Kenyan government of bungling her case against Kenyatta, saying she has been denied access to his financial records.
But Attorney General Githu Muigai maintains that such information is private and can only be released with the individual’s consent and through a court order.
Bensouda had also sought for details of the accused persons regarding their dealings at the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) as well as information from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority.
She also wants the matter of non-cooperation forwarded to the Assembly of States Parties.