Saturday, April 09, 2011

The Second Lot of Suspects Appear in the ICC!

Uhuru Kenyatta, Francis Muthaura and Hussein Ali made their first appearance in the ICC on 08.04.2011 amid renewed warning from the Court that they observe the conditions of the summons. The Presiding Judge, Justice Ekaterina Trendafilova spoke plainly this time round cautioning the suspects against engaging in utterance that could jeopardize peace in Kenya. She said that the Court would not hesitate to replace the summons to appear with warrants of arrest. 

At the same time, the Prosecutor had applied for harsher conditions that would require the three to be appearing in person before the judges at least once every six months. He also sought an order to ensure that the suspects refrain from making any public statements that contain or can be construed as containing “an open or veiled threat to actual or prospective witnesses or victims”. In addition, they should submit complete financial information. The defence lawyers too requested the Court to order the Prosecutor to restrain from making what they termed as “extra-judicial” utterances at press briefings.  The Court promised to make its decision on the matter raised.
The hearing for confirming the charges against the three will be held on 21.09.2011. During yesterday's proceedings, the defence lawyers for the accused actively engaged the Court demanding that the Prosecutor provide the suspects with the evidence he presented to the Court on 15.12.2010. The Court ruled that during the planned conference on April 18, the prosecutor will give an estimate of documents he wants to use to prove the cases, number of witnesses, no of witness statements, indication whether he intends to involve victims and his many witnesses he intends to keep confidential. In addition, the defence teams will be required to indicate whether they want to call witnesses and the documents they intend to use.

With home-coming reception rally planned by the supporters of the two presidential candidates, William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta and their declared onslaught on their main presidential candidate rival Raila Odinga, it will be a difficult or impossible balancing act to require the two to tame their language. If Raila were to utilise this opportunity to deride his opponents, then Ruto and Uhuru could easily argue that the ICC is being used to silence them and therefore ‘working for Raila’.

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