, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 19 – A day after travelling to The Hague, Deputy President William Ruto on Monday made a fresh application for physical excusal from his ICC trial on Thursday and Friday.
Ruto, who is meant to be physically present at the International Criminal Court (ICC) until Friday, made the application through his lawyer Karim Khan on the grounds that he needs to represent Kenya at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Khan told the court that it was imperative that Kenya be represented at the forum and that since Ruto and President Uhuru Kenyatta cannot be out of the country at the same time, it would be in Kenya’s best interest that the first accused be granted excusal.
“When Mr Ruto told the President last week on Thursday or Friday that he would be out of Kenya this week because of court, the issue of attendance at the Davos summit came up for discussion,” Khan told the court.
The prosecution however challenged the application on the grounds that the Deputy President had already been accommodated in moving his mandatory five-day court appearance at the resumption of his trial from last week to this week.
“Mr Ruto’s presence here this week was at the specific request of the defence who asked that he be allowed to attend the testimony of this witness rather than the prior witness who did not engage him in the case as much,” Senior Trial Attorney Anton Steynberg told the court.
He however went on to say that the Prosecution would have no objection should Ruto be excused on Thursday and Friday as long as he attended all the five days required of him at the beginning of every session of his trial as the Chamber stipulated in granting him conditional excusal.
“From the Prosecution’s perspective it really doesn’t matter that much which five days the accused attends. It would seem that this witness is likely to continue into the next week so if Mr Ruto were to be excused on Thursday and Friday and attend on Monday and Tuesday, then the prosecution would have no objection,” Steynberg explained.
An accommodation which Khan said they would not object to should the Chamber so require.
Chamber V(A) will give its ruling on the matter on Tuesday morning.