Bensouda opposes bid to defer Uhuru's trial

What you need to know:

Reasons for postponement:

  • Delay in disclosure of evidence and witnesses by the prosecutor
  • Introduction of new evidence
  • Pending applications before the judges
  • Changes in the document containing charges
  • Amended Pre-Trial Brief.

ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has opposed fresh attempts by President Kenyatta’s lawyers to postpone the trial to January.

Even if the International Criminal Court Trial Chamber judges found merit in the request by the President’s legal team, Ms Bensouda stated, the new date should not go beyond September.

In her latest response to the application — adjournment submission — to push the case backward, she cited what she described as the defence team’s demand for “superfluous amounts of time”, victims’ cry for swift justice, risk to witnesses and unwarranted delays to the case for her position.

“The adjournment submission fails to demonstrate that the requested delay is warranted. The defence fails to provide a justification for such a lengthy postponement. At most, the Adjournment Submission provides a basis for an incremental delay in the trial schedule — weeks, not months,” she stated.

The prosecutor instead urged the judges not to vacate the July 9 date and ensure that the case begins as scheduled.

She argued that President Kenyatta’s lawyers were given adequate time to prepare for the case when the Trial Chamber vacated the April 11 date.

The June 5 application to oppose the postponement of the trial date comes a week after Trial Chamber judges Kuniko Ozaki, Robert Fremr and Chile Oboe-Osuji pushed the start date for a similar case facing Deputy President William Ruto to September 10.

They also left the decision on whether the beginning of the trial of Mr Ruto and former broadcaster Joshua arap Sang could be held in Kenya or Tanzania to the ICC presidency and a vote by judges of The Hague court. Read (ICC judges to vote on trial of Ruto in Kenya)

President Kenyatta and his deputy are facing charges of crimes against humanity stemming from the 2007/08 post-election violence. Mr Sang is the third accused in the cases before the ICC.