East Africa

ICC prosecutor consents for trials against Kenyans to be held in August

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International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has consented for trials against four Kenyan post-election violence suspects to be held in August instead of April.

Two of the suspects, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr William Ruto, are the flagbearers for the Jubilee coalition, a leading contender in Kenya’s presidential election that takes place next Monday.

The other accused are former Civil Service boss Francis Muthaura and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang.

Ms Bensouda proposes that the trails should start “immediately after the Court’s summer recess”.

In a letter to the Court, Ms Bensouda states that she is still ready to proceed with the trials should the judges reject the suspects’ requests for an adjournment.

“The Prosecution suggests that a start date immediately after the Court’s summer recess may be appropriate, although it is ready to start trial earlier, should the Chamber so order,” said the Prosecutor.

The court’s three judges now have to rule on the suspect’s request for adjournment.

Mr Kenyatta, Mr Ruto, Mr Muthaura and Mr Sang are facing charges of crimes against humanity allegedly committed at the height of Kenya’s post-election violence in 2007 and 2008.

Similar concession

The suspects had made requests for their respective trials to be adjourned to prepare better for their cases.

In her consent to the adjournment, Ms Bensouda acknowledged the logistical challenges for the court that make it difficult to start trial in April.

“The Prosecution recognises that a variety of logistical constraints make a trial on 10 April 2013 unlikely. Therefore, the Prosecution does not object to a reasonable adjournment, but recommends that the Trial Chamber set a new date now to provide more certainty for the parties and victims,” said Ms Bensouda in her letter to Trial Chamber 5, with regard to charges against Mr Ruto and Mr Sang.

“Because it appears that the court’s operational restraints may make an April start date untenable in any event, the Prosecution does not object to a reasonable adjournment…the Prosecution suggests that a start date immediately after the court’s summer recess may be appropriate,” she adds.

Ms Bensouda makes a similar concession in the cases against Mr Kenyatta and Mr Muthaura.

Mr Kenyatta and his running mate Mr Ruto now stand a chance of being in Kenya for a potential runoff should the judges grant their request for an adjournment.

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