Friday, April 08, 2011

The First Case against Kenyan Suspects Opens in ICC

The first case against the Ocampo Six opened in The Hague on 07.04.2011 in a preliminary appearance over events stemming from the 2008 post election violence. The suspects William Ruto, Henry Kosgey and Joshua Sang appeared in Pre-Trial Chamber II before the judges with Presiding Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova from Bulgaria. The Court informed them of charges they face and their rights as suspects. They were not required to plead to the charges because they were yet to be confirmed. The Court fixed the confirmation of the charges to be held on 01.09.2011. Meanwhile the suspects remain free as long as they observe the conditions issued to them before by the Court. The presiding judge also cautioned them against use of inflammatory language in public meetings as it has been reported by the Kenyan newspapers and said that this could constitute a breach of the conditions for the summonses and trigger issuing of arrest warrants.

The spectacle of the suspects in the ICC was a humbling scene for the suspects and those who thought The Hague would never come. The proceedings were brought home to Kenyan thanks to technology that allowed them to follow live on TV or Radio commentaries. As the reality of The Hague dawned to Kenyans, the mood was a mixture of sobriety and expectations.  The gravity of the matter was now starting to sink in the hyped psyche of previous week’s events. Both divides in the matter share the sense of expectations, with those who think their "leaders" have been falsely accused expecting their innocence to be confirmed in due course and those who see this as a trial of impunity expecting accountability finally.

As the second bunch of suspects, Uhuru Kenyatta, Francis Muthaura and Hussein Ali make their maiden appearance today, the ICC proceedings will continue to captivate the minds of Kenyans as long as the trials last.

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