, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 28 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) Trial Chamber V (b) has given Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda up to Friday next week to state if she is prepared to start President Uhuru Kenyatta’s case.
The judges have also given the Defense and the Legal Representative of Victims up to September 10 to file any responses.
“Noting the importance of timely and efficient preparations and in order to provide the necessary guidance for parties and participants, the Chamber orders the prosecution to file a notice confirming whether it anticipates being in a position to start trial,” the judges ordered.
The orders were issued on Thursday morning by trial judges Robert Fremr, Geoffrey Henderson and Kuniko Ozaki who presides the case.
They said it is imperative for Bensouda to state if she is ready for the case for purposes of efficient planning, ahead of the scheduled date of October 7.
The president’s defence team has always argued that the prosecution has no case and urged judges to dismiss it altogether
Bensouda in February told the court that she did not have evidence against Kenyatta which prompted the court to vacate earlier dates of commencement of his trial and place it on October 7 to allow the prosecution time to collect more evidence.
She argued that if the Government of Kenya would submit ‘crucial documents’ that had been requested, it would be in a position to gather evidence to show the criminal liability of President Kenyatta in the Nakuru and Naivasha attacks during the 2008 post election violence.
During a status conference last month, the prosecution and Attorney General Githu Muigai on behalf of the Kenya government gave to the court an update of the documents submitted and those pending.
The prosecution complained that Kenya had not yet fully complied in submitting all required information regarding President Kenyatta.
Muigai complained that it was impractical to fulfill some of the requests made by the prosecution due to their ambiguity and lack of specifications especially on land ownership and third parties of companies associated with Kenyatta.
He said the requests also have to be done according to the legal framework and that Kenya was not ready to violate its laws to fulfill ICC’s requests.
President Kenyatta’s lawyer Stephen Kay accused the ICC of lack of objectivity and decisiveness in the case against his client.
He complained that even after the Office of The Prosecutor in February admitted to the court that it did not have evidence against Kenyatta, the court has allowed it time to do ‘fishing expedition’ for evidence that is not relevant to the case.