, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 29 – The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) and Victims Legal Representative on Monday said they are not opposed to the application by President Uhuru Kenyatta to have the status conference set for October 8 rescheduled, if the judges insist on his presence.
In different applications, the two parties in the case against President Kenyatta left it to the judges to decide if to accept his request or not.
“If the chamber decides that Mr Kenyatta’s attendance is required, the prosecution does not object to the status conference being rescheduled, provided that the rescheduled hearing is in the near future,” the OTP stated.
However, the two urged the Trial V (b) judges to ensure the conference is not postponed for a long time.
They are however opposed to President Kenyatta being granted leave to appear via video link and want him in court like other accused persons.
“That said, the chamber has previously excused Mr Kenyatta from attending status conferences or has permitted him to attend by video link, and the Prosecution does not dispute that the chamber has the authority to grant such relief. The question of whether the chamber should do so here is a matter for the chamber’s discretion and will turn on the specific matters it intends to address during the status conference,” the prosecution explained.
Fergal Gaynor, the Victims Legal Representative in the case against President Kenyatta, said it was mandatory that he appears in person during the status conference.
Through his lawyers, President Kenyatta asked the ICC judges to reschedule the date of the status conference as he would be attending a regional meeting.
The judges have scheduled two status conferences, on October 7 (in which a government representative is expected to attend to address the status of cooperation between the government and the court) and October 8, in which they requested for President Kenyatta’s presence.
However the judges did not state on the mode of appearance of President Kenyatta.
His defence team responded by asking for the status conference to be rescheduled as he would be attending a crucial regional meeting.
The trial against President Kenyatta has been adjourned three times after ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she had no evidence against him.
The trial which was set to begin for the third time on October 7 was last week adjourned indefinitely after Bensouda once again said she did not have evidence against him.
She has alleged that the Government of Kenya is withholding information that she requires to use as evidence to sustain charges against President Kenyatta who is now the only accused person in Kenya case 2.
He is accused of implementing a ‘joint common plan’ to carry out attacks in Naivasha and Nakuru during the 2008 Post Election Violence.
Charges against former Police Commissioner Hussein Ali were dropped pre-confirmation stage whereas charges against former Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura were dropped after charges were confirmed.
The prosecution has complained over allegations that ICC witnesses were bribed and intimidated forcing them to withdraw or refuse to testify.
On the other hand, the defence has alleged that witnesses were coached to fabricate information against the accused persons.
So far three witnesses in the case against Deputy President William Ruto and Journalist Joshua arap Sang have told the ICC judges that they gave false statements after they were promised better lives abroad and financial gains.
One of the witnesses also said he was coached to lie to the ICC investigators.
On Monday the fourth witness to be compelled to testify took stand becoming the 25th witness in the case against Ruto and Sang.