ICC prosecution seeks synchronization of the Ocampo Four trial cases
Written by Timothy Makokha and Jamila Aketch
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The ICC judges want dates for trials of Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former Head of Civil Service Ambassador Francis Muthaura to be synchronized with the trial dates for the Eldoret North Mp William Ruto and radio presenter Joshua Arap Sang.
Prosecutor Adesola Adeboyeyo told the International Criminal Court that: “We propose that the dates for the trial be synchronized as closely as possible for both trials… to avoid tensions that would arise if one of the cases is moving faster than the other, in view of the situation in Kenya,” Adeboyeyo said.
Presiding Judge Kuniko Ozaki, Judges Christine Van den Wyngaert and Chile Eboe-Osuji said a ruling on the trial date would be made before the start of the court’s summer recess on July 14.
Ozaki further ruled that the final disclosure of witnesses will be due in 2013 this is after judges said they needed four months for translation of all the evidence available.
The decision came forth after the date for the commencement of the trial of Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former Head of Civil Service Ambassador Francis Muthaura is yet to be known after the two differed unlike the ICC case facing the Eldoret North Mp William Ruto and radio presenter Joshua Arap Sang.
However, for case two, the prosecution intends to call 25 to 35 witnesses against the two.
The two defense teams did not come up with a common date.
With Muthaura’s lawyer Karim Ahmad Khan, noting that they would want a fair and expeditious trial preferring the trial to begin in September this year, contrary to the prosecution which favors next year.
Muthaura wants his trial in September, 2012, prosecution in 2013 and Uhuru when prosecution is ready
Subsequently, Uhuru’s lawyer Steve Kay raised to the chamber the issue of why the identity of witnesses should be delayed saying it hindered their ability to investigate.
“We are still waiting on disclosure so we can't give a time range. Delayed disclosure will affect our preparedness in this case.”
Thus, Uhuru opting for his trial to begin once his prosecution is ready.
The prosecutor will call 25-35 witnesses in both the cases they says they need 4 months to do reduction, discoursers and to put the witnesses security in place before the trial date is set. They shall be ready at the end of the year.
The prosecutor wants the trials dates for this case and its sister case, (that concerning Ruto and Sang) to be synchronized to avoid tension in the country during the trial, for uncertainty may cause anxiety to the defenses of the other cases and to Kenyans as a whole.
On the other hand, the victim’s representative Morris Anyah, who is representing 223 post election victims among them, 139 are women, 194 male largely in Rift Valley and Nyanza, told the ICC that the date of trial should be one year after Uhuru and Muthaura were denied leave to appeal (March 9).
During Monday’s proceedings concerning Ruto and Sang they proposed March 2013 as the appropriate time for the trials to be held.
During the confirmation of cases, Judge Ekaterina said: “With respect to the criminal responsibility of Mr. Muthaura and Mr. Kenyatta, the Chamber was satisfied that the evidence also established substantial grounds to believe that they are criminally responsible for the alleged crimes, as indirect co‐perpetrators, pursuant to article 25(3) (a) of the Rome Statute, having gained control over the Mungiki and directed them to commit the crimes.”
“With respect to the criminal responsibility of Mr. Muthaura and Mr. Kenyatta,the Chamber was satisfied that the evidence also established substantial grounds to believe that they are criminally responsible for the alleged crimes, as indirect co‐perpetrators, pursuant to article 25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute, having gained control over the Mungiki and directed them to commit the crimes.”