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ICC prosecutor updates charges in Kenya cases

Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] Fatou Bensouda [official profile] on Monday filed an updated version of the charges against the four defendants in the two cases stemming from the 2007 Kenyan post-election violence [JURIST news archive]. The revision of the document stems from an order in a decision [text, PDF] by the Trial Chamber V on July 5. The rationale underlying the decision was to provide the defense with "a readily accessible statement of the facts underlying each charge." The updated version had the effect of reducing [AllAfrica report] some charges previously filed against the defendants. For example, the charge of other forms of sexual violence filed against Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former civil service chief Francis Muthaura [case materials] were omitted in the updated version. Journalist Joshua Arap Sang [case materials], who had been facing three counts of murder, forcible transfer and persecution now faces charges of commission of murder, forcible transfer and persecution.

The trials against the four defendants have been set to begin [JURIST report] next April. The trial of former Kenyan minister William Ruto [case materials] and Sang will begin [decision, PDF] on April 10, while the trial of Kenyatta and Muthaura is to begin [decision, PDF] on April 11. In June the ICC expressed its desire to start the two Kenyan trials simultaneously [JURIST report] to avoid any appearance of bias in the March 2013 presidential election. Ruto is considered a leading candidate in the election which will take place March 4. The four men have been accused and charged with involvement in the 2007 post-election violence. In May the appeals chamber of the ICC rejected [JURIST report] the jurisdiction challenges in the two cases, clearing the way for trial. The defense lawyers had argued that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the cases. The appeal stemmed from the pre-trial chamber's decision to confirm the charges [JURIST report] against the four men in January. The ICC claimed jurisdiction over the case despite Kenya's calls for dismissal [JURIST report]. The Kenyan government argued that it was capable of prosecuting the accused men domestically.

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