Saturday, January 21, 2012

ICC Judges to decide fate of Ocampo six on Monday

The International Criminal Court Pre-Trial Court has issued an advisory indicating that Judges will issue decisions confirming or dropping charges against the Ocampo Six on Monday at 1.30pm Kenyan time in Courtroom number one.

The advisory was issued on Friday on ICC's twitter account @Int'lCrimCourt.

It stated: "On 23 January: ICC Judges to issue decisions on the two Kenya cases and read summaries from Courtroom I. Information shortly on ICC website"

The Ocampo Six suspects include Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura and Edloret North MP William Ruto. Others are Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey, radio presenter Joshua arap Sang and Postmaster-General Hussein Ali.

By the time Kenyans gather around TVs and radios at lunchtime on Monday, their six countrymen suspected of bearing the greatest responsibility for the 2007-2008 election-related violence will have known their individual fates.

This is the upshot of the announcement by the International Criminal Court at 11.15 a.m. yesterday that the decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber judges will be made public at 1.30 p.m. on Monday.

It will be 11.30 a.m. at The Hague, Netherlands.

The statement posted on the ICC website, and sent to their 14,862 followers on micro-blogging site Twitter, said “the decisions will be notified in writing to the parties and participants in both cases.”

The judges appeared to have had the public interest on the matter in mind with the changes to the manner in which the decision would be communicated to Kenyans.

“Thereafter (communicating to the parties), the Judges of Pre-Trial Chamber II will appear publicly in Courtroom I at 11:30 (The Hague time) for the sole purpose of informing the public about the outcome of their decisions,” the statement said.

Unlike the confirmation charges and the summons to appear, neither the parties nor the suspects will be present in the Courtroom during this public appearance.

According to the ICC, there are three possible scenarios in the cases against William Ruto, Henry Kosgey, Joshua arap Sang, Francis Muthaura, Uhuru Kenyatta and Hussein Ali.

The Chamber may confirm the charges, totally or partially, against all or some of the suspects, if they are convinced that there are “substantial grounds” to believe that a suspect has committed an alleged crime.

Confirmation means the case proceeds to full trial, with the Prosecutor presenting his evidence and witnesses and allowing the defence to attempt to punch holes in their evidence and cross-examine the witnesses.

The Chamber can also decline to confirm the charges, meaning the case is terminated and the suspect can go back to their normal lives.

There is however a provision for the Prosecutor to have another go at having the same charges confirmed but upon the presentation of fresh evidence.

“If the authorisation is granted, the Appeals Chamber composed of five Judges may consider the issues identified as appealable by the Pre-Trial Chamber,” the ICC said in a lengthy and elaborate statement published in the press last December.

The ICC however said the provision for appeal does not mean that the hearings on the confirmation of charges would be held a second time.

Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto, have expressed their presidential candidature in the upcoming 2012 general election.

On Thursday, Mr Ruto appealed for calm regardless of a ruling by the ICC on whether to confirm or drop the charges. (READ: Ruto calls for calm ahead of ICC ruling)

On his part, Mr Kenyatta said on Tuesday that his quest to succeed President Kibaki would not be determined by the ICC ruling.

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