Kenya pair seeks to delay ICC trial
Kenya’s Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former head of public service Francis Muthaura have asked the International Criminal Court Trial Chamber to delay proceedings against them until their appeals are determined.
The two argue that it would be “contrary to the interests of justice and their fair trial rights and an inefficient use of court resources”, to set a trial date and commence trial proceedings before the Appeals Chamber decides whether or not the ICC has jurisdiction over their case.
“The Defence hereby requests the Trial Chamber to invoke its inherent discretion and exercise its power pursuant to Rule 134(1) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence to postpone the setting of a trial date until the Appeals Chamber has rendered its decision,” the joint application filed on Wednesday says.
Rule 134(1) says that Prior to the commencement of the trial, the Trial Chamber on its own motion, or at the request of the Prosecutor or the defence, may rule on any issue concerning the conduct of the proceedings.
Mr Kenyatta and Mr Muthaura are accused of crimes against humanity arising out of the 2007/08 post-election violence and filed a joint application on February 14, appealing the decision by the Pre-Trial Chamber 11 that the cases are rightly before the court. The Appeals Chamber is yet to make a determination over the matter.
They tell the judges that proceeding to set a trial date before the ICC’s jurisdiction is confirmed may result in “an inefficient use of both court and defence/prosecution resources concerning the conduct of preparations in the coming months”.
“The Defence submits that unless the setting of a trial date is postponed, there may be an ‘appearance’ that the issue on appeal has been pre-determined in a manner which rejects the Defence submissions on jurisdiction. Such an appearance may in turn impact upon the integrity and credibility of the institution,” the two say in their application.
Mr Kenyatta and Mr Muthaura have also requested the Appeals Chamber that they be allowed to make an oral submission on the appeal challenging the jurisdiction of the court.