Judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) have decided that the trial of Kenyan Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang will be held at The Hague, not in Kenya or Tanzania as the defense had requested.
In their decision announced Monday, the judges also opted not to adopt the recommendation of Trial Chamber V(a) to hold part of the trial in Kenya or Arusha, Tanzania, where the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has been based since November 1994. This means that the trial of Ruto and Sang will open at The Hague on September 10 as earlier scheduled.
ICC judges met last week to discuss and vote on the matter following a June 3 recommendation of Trial Chamber V(a). The judges met under Rule 100 of the court’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence, which requires they vote on a proposal to move the venue of a trial from The Hague. For such a move to be adopted, at least two-thirds of the 18 judges needed to vote in favor of it.
Monday’s statement from the court did not give any details of how the judges voted or what swayed their decision. The statement just said the judges considered factors such as security, the potential impact on witnesses and victims if the trial was held outside The Hague, and the cost of holding the trial in a different venue. The statement said that the full plenary decision will be filed in due course.
The prosecution had partially supported the application by Ruto’s and Sang’s lawyers. The prosecution had asked the court to consider holding select sessions outside The Hague, such as the opening and closing of the trials as well as those involving expert witnesses. The Registry had recommended that there be only two sessions outside The Hague for only three to four weeks at a time.