The International Criminal Court returns from winter recess on Monday, 10 days before the oral hearings in the no-case-to-answer motion filed by Deputy President William Ruto.
Last year, the court rescheduled the oral hearings from November 24 and 25 to January 14 and 15 in The Hague.
“The chamber, hereby …moves the hearing dates to 14 and 15 January 2016, being the earliest possible dates following the court’s move to the permanent premises,” the judges said.
The recess coincided with the period the court was relocating to its permanent premises in The Hague. As such, Mr Ruto could be the first high-profile suspect to stand in the dock in the new court premises.
Mr Ruto will travel to The Hague next Tuesday for the hearings in keeping with the conditions for his excusal from continuous physical presence in court.
Among the conditions, Mr Ruto is required to attend the trial in person for “the first five days of hearing starting after a judicial recess as set out in the regulations of the court” and as directed by the chamber either/or other request of a party or participant as decided by the chamber.
Mr Ruto and his co-accused Joshua Sang filed the no-case-to-answer motions asking the ICC to acquit them of the charges and to terminate the post-election violence cases against them.
Mr Ruto argued that the prosecution, after calling 29 witnesses, has failed to establish any case against him.
“The defence submits that, viewed as a whole, the OTP case has ‘completely broken down’. This is because of the collapse of the ‘Confirmation Six’ and subsequent reliance on hearsay evidence ... ,” Mr Ruto said in his application of October 26.
Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, has opposed the motion saying the defence arguments essentially amount to a series of speculative arguments and credibility challenges, which -individually or cumulatively – fail to provide adequate grounds to dismiss any of the charges at this juncture”.
In addition Ms Bensouda told the judges in her November 20 response that she has sufficient evidence to convict the suspects.