Eldoret North MP William Ruto and radio presenter Joshua Sang will have to wait until July 13 to know the when their trials begin, the International Criminal Court judges have said.
Judge Kuniko Ozaki made the announcement after listening to the defence and prosecution on when they want the trials to commence.
“The chamber will be making an order on the trial date and also the timetable for the disclosure by the time we take the summer recess,” Judge Ozaki said.
ICC’s summer judicial recess will commence on July 13 according to information on its website.
Lawyers from both sides were in agreement that the trial should start after March next year which is just after Kenya’s next elections.
The prosecution also told the judges that they would finish disclosing incriminating evidence against the two by the end of March 2013.
It however said that if the date is set after the Kenyan elections, then the suspects should be required to make a “written undertaking” that they would not skip trial.
The defence said it was not opposed to this arrangement, with Mr Sang’s lawyer Katwa Kigen saying that they will need enough time to prepare after this.
Mr Ruto’s lawyer David Hooper however said that it was not necessary to have the suspects give a written undertaking since they have been cooperating with the court.
From the proceedings and with the defence and prosecution having agreed that a date after March 2013, the stage is set for Mr Ruto and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta to continue with their presidential campaigns up to the end.
Mr Kenyatta’s lawyers will meet the prosecution and the judges for their status conference on Tuesday where similar submissions are likely to be made.
At the start of Monday's sitting, the ICC Trial Chamber V started with sending condolences to Kenya’s Sunday helicopter crash victims.
The prosecution was without outgoing prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo and his successor Fatou Bensouda while Mr Ruto was also not in the proceedings.
The prosecution submitted that the setting of the date depends on the scope of the protection of witnesses.
It added that it was still interviewing witnesses, prompting the judges to ask whether it was ready for trial.
“We have a pool of witnesses that we are interviewing and there are issues of protection of witnesses that we are tackling currently. We have the same witnesses. However, because of the situation in Kenya and some of the issues which has affected some witnesses, we are interviewing other witnesses,” the prosecution said.
The prosecution added that witness protection is the key issue that has led to the request that it be allowed until March 2013 to disclose its evidence.
It added that it cannot estimate at this time the number of witnesses who do not need protection.
The judges also asked the defence, the registry and the prosecution to consult and agree on a common ground on the issue of redactions. Judge Ozaki said that the proposal on this should be sent to the Chamber for review by July 3.