The International Criminal Court Pre-Trial Chamber 11 has rejected an application by three of Kenya's post election violence suspects to review the date of their confirmation of charges hearings.
Eldoret North MP William Ruto his Tinderet counterpart Henry Kosgey and radio presenter Joshua Sang lost their bid to have the hearings, scheduled to start on September 1, extended to mid October.
In her ruling, Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova said she expected the defence teams of the three suspects to act professionally without attempting to delay the start of the confirmation hearings.
“The Single Judge has carefully reviewed Mr Ruto and Mr Sang joint application together with the annexes as well as Mr Kosgey’s application, and based on her examination she wishes to express her dissatisfaction with the manner in which the defence teams of the suspects approach the upcoming confirmation hearing.
“Knowing that the suspects have chosen their lawyers among those highly qualified in the field, it is her expectations that the defence teams perform their tasks with full professionalism and without any attempt to delay the Chamber in performing its mandate at the critical moments before the start of the confirmation hearing,” Judge Trendafilova said.
Mr Ruto and Mr Sang's lawyer Katwa Kigen confirmed to the Nation that the request had been rejected on Friday night (11pm Kenyan time) but said that his clients intend to appeal the decision.
"We find it un-proportional that the prosecutor has had three years to prepare for his case and we have only 15 weeks to do so. The prosecutor also got several extensions and we have had the first and only one rejected," said Mr Kigen.
He, however, added that the defence teams were ready to take on the prosecutor during the hearings that run from September 1 to September 20 even if the Appeals Chamber does not rule in their favour.
Mr Sang and Mr Ruto wrote to the ICC on Thursday asking that they be granted more time to interview their witnesses afresh. Mr Kosgey was enjoined to the request on Friday by his lawyers.
They wanted the court to push the start of the hearings to October 13 in order to "given the defence ample time to prepare our witnesses".
The confirmation of charges hearings against Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura and Postmaster General Hussein Ali is scheduled for September 21.