The judges of Kenya case two have announced that the International Criminal Court (ICC) trial of President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta will now start in five months’ time to give his defense team adequate time to prepare their case.
Today, Trial Chamber V(b) said in its decision that November 12 will be the he new trial commencement date because of the time it has taken the prosecution to make full disclosure of its witnesses and evidence as well the transcripts of its witness interviews conducted after the disclosure deadline of January 9, 2013.
“It is a matter of particular concern to the Chamber that the need for delayed disclosure of many of these witnesses appears to have arisen from delays on the part of the Prosecution in referring their security situation to the VWU [Victims and Witnesses Unit] for assessment and implementation of protective measures as appropriate,” the judges said in their decision.
The judges said they preferred to start the trial in October, but they could not schedule a date due to logistical constraints, such as the suitable courtroom being booked for other cases that month.
Trial Chamber V(b) set the new trial date after the court, in an April 26 decision, declined to terminate Kenyatta’s case as his lawyers had requested. While making that decision, the then Trial Chamber V, reprimanded the prosecution for late disclosures and poor management of its case file, prompting the judges then to say they would consider favorably a defense request for an extension of time before the trial starts.
The defense had applied to have the trial start in January next year, while the prosecution proposed the trial starts soon after the court’s summer recess ends in August.
Pending before Trial Chamber V(b) is a decision on whether Kenyatta can attend part of his trial hearings via video link and also making a recommendation on whether the trial can be held outside The Hague. Trial Chamber V(a), which is responsible for the other Kenya case at the ICC that involves Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang, already announced its decision on attendance at trial and recommendation on venue earlier this month. Two judges serve in both Trial Chamber V(a) and (b). They are Chile Eboe-Osuji and Robert Fremr.