NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 7 – The International Criminal Court has directed Deputy President William Ruto to be physically present at The Hague during the testimony of witness 28.
“We are now turning to direct the attendance of Mr Ruto throughout the testimony of Witness 28,” Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji said when issuing the order.
The judge however said parties in the case will make submissions on Monday regarding Ruto’s presence.
He explained that the decision was informed by rule number nine which allows the chamber to ask Ruto to be present in court or upon request of other parties in the case.
“During our excusal decision that we granted pursuant to rule 134 condition number nine, we gave conditional excusal and the ninth condition is any other attendance directed by the chamber either proprio motu or at the request of a party or a participant as decided by the chamber, now proprio motu the chamber has preliminarily directed for presence of Mr Ruto,” he said.
Ruto’s Lawyer Karim Khan asked the prosecution to indicate the period which witness P28 will be in court.
“P28 and P19 who are conjoined as perspective witnesses for that period of time… we would appreciate the clearest indication by the prosecutor as to which witness is definitely coming first after those two, we understand it is P28 but there has been a lot of class, given the voluminous amount of material relating to that witness, we will very much appreciate that notice,” Khan requested.
According to Senior Trial Attorney Anton Steynberg, the 28th witness has lengthy evidence but cannot confirm when the witness will give evidence since the court has not released the schedule for the next sessions after the Easter recess.
Eboe-Osuji however said the issues of concern will be raised on Monday when parties will be making submissions regarding the order to have Ruto physically present in The Hague.
On January 14, judges of Trial Chamber V (a) granted Ruto his application in which he wanted to be excused from contentious physical presence during his trial.
Ruto was however given nine conditions when his physical presence will be mandatory.
One condition was when victims present their views and concerns in person.
He was also directed to be in court during the entirety of the delivery of the judgment, the entirety of the sentencing hearing – if applicable – and the entirety of the sentencing, if pertinent.
The judges also asked for his presence during the first five days of hearing starting after a judicial recess.
However, on February 24, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda asked for leave to appeal the decision and the judges are yet to respond.