ICC eases way for Ruto, Uhuru to run
Trial Chamber V judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) have cleared the way for two prominent suspects to campaign for the presidency in Kenya’s General Election.
The judges set April 10 and 11 as the start dates for trials in the two Kenyan cases at The Hague, easing fears Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto would be unable to head their various campaigns for State House.
However, the ruling is a blow to former Head of the Civil Service, Mr Francis Muthaura, one of the four suspects in the two Kenyan cases at the ICC, who wanted the trials to start this year.
Suspects are required to be present throughout the trials. Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang are suspects in the first case to start on April 10, while the trial of Uhuru and his co-accused Muthara will now begin on April 11.
The four are charged with crimes against humanity in relation to the post-election violence of 2008.
Barring a successful challenge to their candidacies in the local courts, Uhuru and Ruto who have declared they will be on the ballot in the polls scheduled for March next year, are now assured of an unbroken campaign for the top seat.
The International Centre for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) has filed a case in the High Court seeking a ruling on the eligibility of Uhuru and Ruto to run for State House.
The civil society organisation wants the court to state whether Uhuru and Ruto meet the requirements of Chapter Six of the Constitution of leadership and integrity.
“Today, 9 July 2012, Trial Chamber V of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued scheduling orders setting the dates for the commencement of the trials in the two Kenyan cases, establishing a time table for the various procedural steps required to be undertaken before the opening of the trials to guarantee the fairness of the procedures,” read the release by the ICC on its web page.
A date after March next year had been accepted by both the prosecution and the defence in the two cases during the status conferences last month, but was subject to the approval by the court.
During the status conferences the prosecution surprisingly backed trial dates after the elections.