International Criminal Court (ICC) trial judges have called lawyers involved in the cases of four prominent Kenyans charged with crimes against humanity for meetings next month to begin preliminary work on their trials, ending months of speculation about when the trial process would start.
Trial Chamber V has called the legal teams for meetings at The Hague on June 11 and June 12 to discuss dates for the trials, how and when the prosecution and defense will disclose their evidence, and other issues. These meetings, in the court’s parlance, are called status conferences.
The chamber said in a statement released Wednesday it will meet with the legal teams involved in the first Kenya case on Monday, June 11. This is the case in which former Cabinet Minister William Samoei Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang, are both charged with three counts of crimes against humanity in connection with the violence that almost tore apart Kenya between December 2007 and February 2008.
The chamber has said it will meet with the legal teams involved in the second Kenya case on Tuesday, June 12. This case involves Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and former Public Service Chief and Secretary to the Cabinet, Francis Kirimi Muthaura, both of whom are charged with five counts of crimes against humanity.
The Trial Chamber has given all concerned until May 28 to make written submissions on the agenda the judges have laid out for the meetings in June. They have also asked all involved to make written submission on their interpretation of the law on the mode of individual criminal responsibility and how it applies in the Kenya cases.
Ever since the ICC Presidency formed Trial Chamber V on March 29 this year to handle the Kenya cases, there has been speculation in the country about when the trials of Ruto, Sang, Kenyatta, and Muthaura would begin. Part of the speculation is driven by the fact that Ruto and Kenyatta are aspiring to run for president in elections scheduled for March 4, 2013 and ordinary Kenyans wonder whether the two will campaign for high office while also going to court.
The four face trial after Pre-Trial Chamber II determined on January 23, 2012 that ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo had shown there were substantial grounds to confirm the charges against them.