Now Uhuru’s case put off indefinitely

PHOTO | FILE President Uhuru Kenyatta speaks at a past function. The International Criminal Court has postponed indefinitely the trial of President Kenyatta that was to begin on February 5.

What you need to know:

  • The prosecutor said she would only continue with the case once satisfied that the new evidence would be enough to support the case.
  • The judges said given the new and distinct issues of law raised by the defence in seeking termination of the case, they found it appropriate that the prosecution should fully respond to them by January 31.
  • The judges ordered the registry to reclassify as public the prosecution’s request to reply as soon as a public redacted version of the defence response has been filed.

The International Criminal Court has postponed indefinitely the trial of President Kenyatta that was to begin on February 5.

The court has instead ordered that a status conference be held on that day to discuss, among others, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s request to adjourn the trial for three months to enable her undertake further investigations in the case.

Ms Bensouda last month revealed that she did not have sufficient evidence to try Kenya’s President Kenyatta for crimes against humanity and asked the ICC judges to adjourn the case to allow her gather more evidence.

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The prosecutor said she would only continue with the case once satisfied that the new evidence would be enough to support the case.

Read the order signed by Trial Chamber V (b) judges Kuniko Ozaki (presiding), Robert Fremr and Chile Eboe-Osuji: “The Prosecution also requested that a status conference be convened…in order for the Chamber to receive an update from the prosecution on the additional investigative steps being taken.”

The judges further revealed that following the prosecutor’s request, President Kenyatta’s defence had filed a confidential response requesting the chamber to terminate the proceedings on the grounds of insufficient evidence.

The judges said the chamber had vacated the trial commencement date “in order to give thorough consideration to the requests pending before it...without prejudice to the position of the chamber on the aforementioned pending requests.”

The court decided to schedule the status conference on February 5 to facilitate a fair and expeditious proceedings and to discuss the issues raised by the parties in relation to the prosecution request and the defence response, the judges said.

The judges said given the new and distinct issues of law raised by the defence in seeking termination of the case, they found it appropriate that the prosecution should fully respond to them by January 31.

They said that in asking the court to terminate the charges against the President, the defence made their application confidentially, with a promise to file a public redacted version in due course.

“The chamber notes that this has yet to occur, and orders the defence to file a public redacted version of its response no later than Tuesday, 28 January 2014,” they said.

They went on: “In this connection, the chamber notes that the prosecution indicated that the prosecution request to reply was filed confidentially because it addresses matters raised in a filing so designated.”

The judges ordered the registry to reclassify as public the prosecution’s request to reply as soon as a public redacted version of the defence response has been filed.

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