Focus on Africa
Kenyan suspects’ bid for oral submission fails before the ICC
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The International Criminal Court Appeals Chamber has rejected a bid put forward by Kenya’s Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former head of Public Service Commission Service Francis Muthaura for an oral hearing.
The International Criminal Court Appeals Chamber has rejected a bid put forward by Kenya’s Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former head of Public Service Commission Service Francis Muthaura for an oral hearing. This rejection arises from the judges’ ruling that there is enough material to base a decision on and therefore no need to hear the two in person. According to the judges, there was a lack of conviction that an oral hearing was the most effective method of establishing the merits of the two Kenyans submissions. They continued to say that to convene an oral hearing at this point in time, might not only be unnecessary, but can unduly impact on the speedy resolution of the appeal. The judges went on to declare that since the submissions in this appeal are public, the desired publicity of the proceedings is guaranteed. The two prominent Kenyans, Mr Kenyatta and Mr Muthaura, are facing crimes against humanity that occurred during the 2007/2008 post-election violence. They have been challenging the jurisdiction of the ICC over their case. The two are appealing against the pre-trial chamber ruling on January 23 that the ICC has jurisdiction over the case. This was done on January 30, 2012. The bid to be heard in person was lodged on 25 April, 2012. To strengthen their case, in their submissions, Mr Kenyatta and Mr Muthaura argued that an oral hearing would serve to guarantee the public nature of the proceedings. They supported their argument on the fact that the case was of special interest not only to the Kenyan public but to Africa and the international community as a whole. In contrasting views to those of the judges, Mr Kenyatta and Mr Muthaura also submitted that granting an oral hearing would not cause delay, but rather would strengthen the ongoing deliberation of the Appeals Chamber thereby helping by shedding light on issues that might need further clarification. The Kenyans were of the opinion that since the trial in their case had not commenced, there would be no delay as a result of an oral hearing.
Kenya, May 14, 2012