Prosecution, defence dig in over Uhuru ICC case

October 8, 2014 11:42 am
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The prosecution asked the ICC judges to adjourn the trial indefinitely, while President Kenyatta's lawyers asked the judges to drop the charges against him/COURTESY
The prosecution asked the ICC judges to adjourn the trial indefinitely, while President Kenyatta’s lawyers asked the judges to drop the charges against him/COURTESY
NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 8 – The prosecution and defence lawyers in the International Criminal Court (ICC) case against President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday maintained their hardline positions on the future of the trial.

The prosecution asked the ICC judges to adjourn the trial indefinitely, while President Kenyatta’s lawyers asked the judges to drop the charges against him as further delays were infringing on his rights as an accused person.

“I don’t mean to say interest of the accused is not important. But interest of justice should be paramount. The court cannot say if the country sticks out long enough on providing evidence that the accused can have his case dropped,” the prosecution argued.

President Kenyatta’s lawyer Steven Kay who told the court that his client would not make any statements during the session, asked the judges to drop the charges as it was the prosecution’s failure to fix its allegations against Kenyatta.

“This court has clear oversight of the prosecutorial functions which enable itself to take that role in circumstances such as this. You have the admission of the insufficiency of the evidence in the case, you have issues concerning cooperation which you will look at and make a decision upon. My submission brings us to this position that the case has failed and it has failed in a way that there is no prospect of going further, if the prosecutor does not intervene, you act to terminate prosecution not offering any evidence,” Kay asserted.

In his submission, Benjamin Gumpert for the prosecution said the OTP had no other options to help them settle on a definite date when they would be ready to proceed with the trial.

“We have run out of hooks on which we can hang any particular date. The only realistic order is if the court is minded to adjourn is that we don’t know when this case will resume. But we believe that justice demands that it should not be terminated now in the light of this obstruction, the only realistic order we can make is to adjourn the case without a date. We don’t know when that date will be so case should be adjourned indefinitely,” Gumpert told the judges.

Trial Chamber V (b) Presiding Judge Kuniko Kozaki however pressed the prosecution to explain why they want an indefinite delay of the case.

Gumpert explained that though Kenya had promised that it would submit the requested documents in the next six months, based on their interactions, they were not sure if they would receive the documents as promised hence they could not come up with an appropriate date of starting the trial.

Judges were particularly keen to establish how long such an adjournment will be and what will change at the end of that period.

Judges Robert Fremr sought to know why the prosecution could not withdraw the case altogether and start fresh investigations; “why can’t the prosecution bring charges at later date if the case is dropped at present?”

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