NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 19 – President Uhuru Kenyatta’s case before the International Criminal Court (ICC) will not commence on October 7 after the trial chamber vacated the date on Friday.
But it did schedule two status conferences for both that date and the day after, requiring President Kenyatta to attend on October 8.
“A representative of the Kenyan Government is invited to attend the first status conference and Mr Kenyatta is required to be present at the second status conference. Given the critical juncture of the proceedings and the matters to be considered,” the Court communicated in a press release.
It would be the first time President Kenyatta appears before the Court since he assumed office more than a year ago.
The chamber stated that the status conferences would allow it to, “consider the recent requests by the parties and participants to the trial,” following the Prosecution’s admission that it did not have enough evidence against President Kenyatta to successfully prosecute him.
It is the third time the Court is putting off the commencement of President Kenyatta’s trial having last done so on March 31 when the Prosecutor accused the Kenyan government of denying her the information she needed to proceed with the case.
“Trial Chamber V (b) had adjourned the commencement date of the trial in the Kenyatta case to 7 October 2014 to provide the Government of Kenya with a further, time-limited opportunity to provide certain financial and other records relating to Mr Kenyatta, which the Prosecution had previously requested on the basis that the records are relevant to a central allegation to the case,” Friday’s statement recaptured.
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The status conferences, it therefore explained, were also called to determine the extent of that co-operation.
“The Chamber also convened (the) two public status conferences for October 7 and 8 to discuss the status of cooperation between the Prosecution and the Kenyan Government.”
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, while reporting on the status of her case and if she was ready for the October 7 commencement date, accused the Kenyan government of, “failing to fully comply with its obligations to the court.”
She therefore requested that President Kenyatta’s trial be put off until such a time as they cooperate.
“It would be inappropriate for the prosecution to withdraw its charges against Mr Kenyatta before the GoK complies with the revised request,” she stated despite admitting that in, “ordinary circumstances,” the lack of evidence would result in a withdrawal of the charges.