Saturday, January 14, 2012

Kenya chaos suspects to know fate on January 23

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Head of the Public Service Francis Muthaura, Postmaster General Hussein Ali, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, his Tinderet counterpart Henry Kosgey and radio presenter Joshua Sang will know whether they will stand trial for crimes committed during post election violence January 23, 2012. FILE

From the top : Deputy President William Ruto, radio presenter Joshua Sang and former cabinet minister Henry Kosgey. On March 8, 2011, the International Criminal Court summoned six Kenyans to appear before it over crimes against humanity charges. FILE PHOTO  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By ANTHONY KARIUKI

The six Kenyan post election violence suspects will know whether they will stand trial on January 23.

This is the date when the International Criminal Court Pre-Trial Chamber 11 will issue its decision on whether or not to confirm charges of crimes against humanity for the Ocampo Six.

One of the suspects' lawyer confirmed this development to the Nation.

Speaking on the telephone, the lawyer who requested anonymity because of ICC rules, said the session will be open to the public.

The suspects- Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Head of the Public Service Francis Muthaura, Postmaster General Hussein Ali, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, his Tinderet counterpart Henry Kosgey and radio presenter Joshua Sang- will not be required attend the hearing.

However, since it will be open court their lawyers will have to be present.

The hearing is scheduled for 3pm Kenyan time on Monday, January 23.

Mr Kenyatta, who is also the Finance minister, and Mr Ruto have declared they will run for the presidency during the next General Election.

The Ocampo Six are accused of perpetrating crimes committed after the 2007 polls. The violence left 1,133 people dead and displaced a further 650,000 most of whom are still in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps across the country.

Mr Ruto and Mr Kosgey are suspected of being criminally responsible as indirect co-perpetrators for the crimes against humanity of murder, forcible transfer of population and persecution.

Mr Sang is suspected of having otherwise contributed to the commission of murder, forcible transfer of population and persecution.

Mr Kenyatta, Mr Ali and Mr Muthaura are allegedly criminally responsible as indirect co-perpetrators for the crimes against humanity of murder, forcible transfer, rape, persecution and other inhumane acts.

Although Mr Ruto and Mr Kenyatta insist they will run for the presidency despite the ruling, the quest may be a tough call should the charges be confirmed given that they would be required to attend trial in person.

“If one or more charges are confirmed, totally or partially, against a defendant, that person will remain free, unless ordered otherwise by the judges if he violates the conditions put on him by their decision.

“However, the person will have to be present at The Hague for the trial. The Rome Statute does not allow trials in the absence of the defendants,” said a statement issued by the office of the registrar of the ICC.

The Ocampo Six attended confirmation of charges hearings at the ICC between September and October last year. The suspects had made an initial appearance at The Hague- based court in April.

At the end of the confirmation of charges hearings, Pre Trial Chamber 11 presiding judge Ekaterina Trendafilova promised Kenyans fairness and justice in their judgement. The other judges handling the Kenyan case are Cuno Tarfusser and Hans-Peter Kaul .

"We urge Kenyans to protect the lives, property of victims and witnesses in both cases. The witnesses have performed their civic duty," said Judge Trendafilova on the final day of the hearings.

"The judges will take their decision independently and impartially, having examined evidence by both parties so that justice will be served to everyone concerned."

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