The final step to the trial of four Kenyans facing criminal charges at the International Criminal Court starts on Monday when parties assemble at The Hague for a two-day preparatory conference.
One of the accused, Mr Joshua Sang left for The Hague-based court on Saturday evening, for the meeting officially known as the Status Conference.
The radio presenter, who is accused alongside Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, former Public Service boss Francis Muthaura and Eldoret North MP William Ruto, told the Sunday Nation that he wished to cooperate with the court to avoid arrest.
“I hope I will not be locked up at The Hague during the trial. I want to come back home and be with my children,” he said. The four are enjoying their liberty under conditions imposed by the court.
I want to know the witnesses and investigate them to find out whether they are genuine or not,” said Mr Sang.
Sources close to Mr Muthaura indicated that he was likely to travel for the conference during which issues relating to the date of trial, identity of witnesses and disclosure of evidence will be discussed.
The suspects were on January 23 committed to trial for crimes against humanity committed during the 2007/8 violence.
During the conference, trial judges are expected to make a decision on whether the parties to the case would visit areas affected by the violence which claimed 1,133 lives, mostly in the Rift Valley.
This would include Kiambaa in Eldoret where women and children were burnt in a church as well as Naivasha and Nakuru.
The decision by the two to attend the conference is a determination to express their commitment to cooperate with the court.
Dr Karim Khan who leads Mr Muthaura’s defence was yesterday no-committal on whether his client will travel to The Hague. The accused have the option of attending the conference or send their counsel.
“There is no requirement that the accused go to The Hague at this stage. It is their decision. My client is a free man. He can go to The Hague or anywhere as a tourist,” he said in a phone interview.
By yesterday, there were no indications that Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto will fly out for the conference. On Sunday, Mr Kenyatta is scheduled to take his presidential campaign to Laisamis while Mr Ruto will attend the launch of a Sabaot translation of the Bible.
The conference would accord the accused the first opportunity to interact with the trial judges Kuniko Ozaki (presiding), Chile Eboe-Osuji and Christine Van den Wyngaert.
Mr Sang indicated that he will use tomorrow’s session to study the prosecutor’s evidence. The Kenyatta and Muthaura defences will participate on Tuesday.
A review of submissions by the prosecution and the defence shows that the discussions will mainly be a tussle on the trial date, disclosure of evidence and protection of witnesses.
While the prosecutor has asked the judges to set the date, Mr Ruto who has declared intention to vie for the presidency in the March election, has requested the court have the trials after the poll.