Monday, 6 May 2013

ICC judges put off Ruto and Sang trial

Deputy President William Ruto with his lawyers Kindiki Kithure (left) and Katwa Kigen in The Hague in 2011. Photo/FILE
Deputy President William Ruto with his lawyers Kindiki Kithure (left) and Katwa Kigen in The Hague in 2011. Photo/FILE   NATION
Posted  Monday, May 6  2013 at  20:46
The trial of Deputy President William Ruto and broadcaster Joshua arap Sang at the International Criminal Court has been put off.
A new date will be announced after the trial chamber hears the prosecution and defence during separate private sessions, and later jointly during open sitting, the judges announced Monday.
Mr Ruto had called for the trial, in which he faces charges of crimes against humanity, to be moved to November citing the inclusion of evidence from five new witnesses and the shortage of time for the defence to prepare its case.
“Therefore, the Chamber hereby, without prejudice to the Chamber’s decisions on the pending requests, vacates the trial date of 28 May 2013,” judges Kuniko Ozaki, Robert Fremr and Chile Eboe-Osuji ruled.
They added: “The new start date for trial will be rendered in due course.”
Mr Ruto faces three counts of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the violence that erupted in Kenya after the disputed presidential election in 2007.
Prosecutors had last month sought to add five witnesses to their list, prompting Mr Ruto’s lawyers to ask for a status conference to discuss the case’s progress.
The judges granted the prosecution time today to argue their case for the additional witnesses during private hearings in The Hague.
It will be followed by a similar session with the Ruto and Sang defences at a date to be announced later before both parties are heard in public on May 14.
The judges said: “The Chamber considers it necessary to receive additional information from the prosecution about the request to add five witnesses to the prosecution’s witness list.”
Another case involving President Uhuru Kenyatta was scheduled for hearing in June.
Cases against former civil service head Francis Muthaura, Police Commissioner Hussein Ali and former Cabinet minister Henry Kosgey were dropped. Mr Ruto’s team had asked for the trial date to be moved to November.
Having heard submissions, “the Chamber considers that it is not feasible, at this stage, to retain 28 May as the start of the trial,” the judges said.
Beacon of stability
ICC judges already postponed Mr Ruto’s trial once before, saying they considered it important that he is given enough time to properly prepare his case.
Mr Ruto will go on trial with co-accused Sang.
Some 1,133 people died in bloodshed after the last elections over allegations of vote rigging, shattering Kenya’s image as a beacon of regional stability.
Judges in early March also postponed newly inaugurated Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s own trial, also on charges of crimes against humanity, over the violence until July 9.Both Mr Ruto and Mr Kenyatta deny the charges.

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