Uhuru trial pushed to February

What you need to know:

  • President Kenyatta had applied that his trial be postponed to at least February 12, 2014 while the prosecution wanted the postponement not go beyond February 3, 2014.
  • Thursday, Ms Bensouda submitted that the ruling interrupted her plans since she would not be able to present witnesses whose evidence is at the core of the charges against President Kenyatta.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s trial at the ICC has been pushed to February 5, 2014.

This comes a day after the prosecution declined to oppose the postponement from November 12.

It also comes in the wake of a spirited diplomatic offensive by the government and the African Union at the UN Security Council to have the cases against President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto deferred.

President Kenyatta had applied that his trial be postponed to at least February 12, 2014 while the prosecution wanted the postponement not go beyond February 3, 2014.

PARTIES IN AGREEMENT

“The Chamber notes that the parties are in agreement on postponing the trial date until February 2014 in order to give the prosecution additional time to investigate recent factual allegations raised by the defence,” the ICC judges said.

The defence of President Kenyatta wanted the start date of his trial postponed for the chamber to deal with the issues of abuse of process that it raised on the October 10 to have the charges dropped.

Chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, said she was not opposed to most of the reasons but said the trial date should not go beyond February 3, 2014.

“The new date should be fixed as Monday 3, February 2014,” she said. This was in relation to the decision by the judges allowing her to include two additional witnesses, one of them a Mungiki insider.

However, the judges ruled that all prosecution witnesses linked to the outlawed sect should only testify after the end of January next year.

Thursday, Ms Bensouda submitted that the ruling interrupted her plans since she would not be able to present witnesses whose evidence is at the core of the charges against President Kenyatta.

The prosecutor argued that it would be of no use to hear testimonies of witnesses whose evidence was peripheral to the case.

Ms Bensouda said she wanted to prosecute the case against President Kenyatta in a systematic way, starting with witnesses whose evidence is at the heart of the case.

The prosecution did not oppose the postponement because they needed more time “to present evidence in a ‘logical and coherent’ sequence”.

However, the victims’ lawyer was opposed to the postponement. “A delay in the conduct of these proceedings is an issue of deep concern to the victims, and many victims have repeatedly and forcefully communicated to the legal representative their total opposition to any further delay,” said lawyer Fergal Gaynor.

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