Post poll victims welcome ICC trial venue decision

Wednesday July 17 2013

By JOHN NJAGI [email protected]

Over 10,000 victims of the post-election violence have welcomed the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) judges to hold the Kenyan trials at The Hague.

Victims' lawyer Fergal Gaynor said Wednesday he presented the victims' written memorandum to the court in reply to the application by Deputy President William Ruto and former radio presenter Joshua Arap Sang to have the cases held either in Kenya or Tanzania.

“We have been in constant communication with the victims I represent and they have overwhelmingly supported the cases being held at The Hague believing there would be impartiality,” said Mr Gaynor, who is representing victims in the case facing President Kenyatta.

The victims indicated that due to the high profile of the accused and fears about security of the victims and witnesses it meant local hearings would be problematic and were likely to be partial.

In rejecting Mr Ruto's defence team application, the 18 ICC judges raised the issue of security, cost of shifting the staff to Kenya, effect on witnesses and victims as well as the length of the proceedings in their ruling.

“In their consideration of the matter, the judges took into account numerous factors, such as security, the cost of holding proceedings outside The Hague, the potential impact on victims and witnesses, the length of the proceedings to be held away from the seat of the Court, the potential impact on the perception of the court and the impact on the court’s ability to conduct and support other proceedings that are taking place simultaneously at the seat of the Court,” the judges said.

The Kenya Human Rights Commission and activist Ken Wafula also welcomed the decision. Mr Wafula cited the cost of moving the cases either to Kenya or Tanzania and security of the victims.

The fact that it would be the ICC team hearing the cases just as it would at the Hague did little to assuage the victims and stakeholders that justice would be served from closer home.

The officials were speaking during a meeting in Nairobi.