NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 3 – The trial chamber in the case facing Deputy President William Ruto and former Kass presenter Joshua arap Sang at the International Criminal Court (ICC) has set out the guidelines for the filing of a ‘no case to answer’ motion.
The chamber ruled that they should orally notify the chamber of their intention to file a ‘no case to answer’ motion no later than the last day of the Prosecutor’s case.
“Or completion of the presentation of any evidence by the Legal Representative of Victims or as requested by the chamber, as applicable,” the decision reads.
Following which they would have 14 days to file their written motions as per the rules and procedures of the court, the chamber found.
It however cautioned both Ruto and Sang against speculatively filing such a motion as they would have to convince the court that the prosecution’s case had no substance.
“In making the request, defence counsel would argue that the ‘case’ presented thus far by the prosecution does not, from the perspective of evidence presented, raise any serious question of guilt that the accused should be called upon ‘to answer’,” the decision states.
The trial chamber consisting of Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, Olga Herrera and Robert Fremr also made clear that their decision in no way meant that Ruto and Sang had no case to answer.
“When such a motion is made, it is then for the court to decide whether or not the challenge has merit. As stressed by the chamber, the decision to allow, in principle, ‘no case to answer’ motions is not intended to in any way pre-judge whether or not a motion of that kind should actually be pursued in this case,” it concludes.
The chamber had on June 19, 2013 requested the prosecutor, defence counsels and the Legal Representative for Victims to make submission on whether the ‘no case to answer’ motion should be allowed.
All the parties involved agreed that the chamber was empowered by both the Rome Statute and Rules of Procedure and Evidence to permit a ‘no case to answer’ motion.
“The chamber considers that permitting such motions, in principle, would be consistent with the ICC’s statutory framework, including the chamber’s general obligation to ensure that the trial is fair and expeditious,” the judges found.
Tuesday’s decision was to issue guidelines on the rationale for allowing such a motion, the legal standard to be applied, scope, timing and procedure for filing the motion.