International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo came under pressure Friday to disclose evidence against Kenya's post election violence suspects during the status conference set for April 18.
Lawyers representing head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura and Postmaster General Hussein Ali asked the Pre-Trial Chamber to prevail upon Mr Moreno-Ocampo to make available the evidence to enable the defence teams to prepare adequately for the confirmation hearing.
Mr Muthaura’s lawyer, Karim Ahmad Khan, said there was no reason why the prosecutor could give his evidence to the defence teams since he must have compiled it by the time he disclosed the identities of the six suspects in December 2010.
Mr Ali’s lead counsel, Gregory Kehoe also requested that Mr Moreno-Ocampo discloses the volume of evidence he intended to rely upon during the confirmation hearing.
“I would request that the prosecutor tells us the amount of documents he intends to rely upon so that we know how much information we need to digest,” said Mr Kehoe.
Mr Moreno-Ocampo, however, challenged the application by the two lawyers saying that even though the disclosure of the material was key to a fair hearing of the cases facing the suspects, he was reluctant to release the evidence because of the pending admissibility challenge lodged by the Kenyan Government.
Responding to the application, presiding judge Ekaterina Trendafilova agreed with the defence teams and asked the prosecutor to move expeditiously and produce the evidence. She disagreed with Mr Moreno-Ocampo that the admissibility challenge posed an obstacle to the disclosure of the evidence.
The exchanges took place when the second group of the six Kenyans accused of bearing the greatest responsibility for the post election violence, Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Mr Muthaura and former police commissioner Ali made their initial appearance to introduce themselves before the judges and take the dates for the confirmation hearings and status conference.
During the 57-minute session, judge Trendafilova announced that the confirmation hearings of the cases facing the three would take place on September 21 starting 11.30 am. This will be exactly twenty days after the first group of the suspects, including Eldoret North MP William Ruto, Tinderet legislator Henry Kosgey and radio presenter Joshua Sang return to The Hague for their date with the judges.
The judge announced that whereas Mr Kenyatta, Mr Muthaura and Mr Ali must appear in person during the hearing, they were under no obligation to attend the status conference on April 18 as they would be ably represented by their lawyers.
She however repeated her warning to all the six suspects against making utterances that could re-ignite violence in the country.
“It came to the knowledge of the Chamber by way of following some articles in the Kenyan newspapers that there are some movements towards re-triggering violence in the country by way of using some dangerous speeches,” she noted.
The judge added that such action was in breach of the tough conditions imposed by the Pre-Trial Chamber when issuing the summonses to appear for the Ocampo Six.
She warned that whereas the judges were not keen to take such drastic action as substituting the summonses with warrants of arrest, they could be compelled to do so if any of the suspects failed to comply with the conditions.