ICC rejects request to hold Kenya trials in Africa

[JURIST] The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday rejected [press release] a request by Kenyan officials to change the forum of their trials to Kenya or Tanzania. Joshua Sang and William Ruto [ICC materials; JURIST news archive] are accused of inciting violence after the 2007 presidential election, in which 1,100 people died. Lawyers for both defendants filed a joint application [text, PDF] on the grounds that transferring the case would make it more practical for them to maintain the duties of their active offices. Although there are already established ICC courts in both Kenya and Tanzania, the ICC extensively debated the request before denying it. In a press release Monday, the ICC stated that it just was not possible to provide the same resources in those facilities: "the Judges took into account numerous factors, such as security, the cost of holding proceedings outside The Hague, the potential impact on victims and witnesses." The trial is now set to open in The Hague.

The defense request was filed in January under articles 3(3) and 62 of the Rome Statute and Rule 100 of the ICC Rules and Procedures of Evidence [text, PDF], which provide for in situ hearings. Also facing trial is Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. Both trials were recently postponed [JURIST report] until the fall. African foreign ministers requested [JURIST report] that current Kenyatta and Vice President Ruto be tried in Kenya after the Kenyan Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) [advocacy website] released a report [JURIST report] connecting Kenyatta and Ruto to the post-election violence. Earlier in May Kenya's ambassador to the UN requested [JURIST report] that the charges against Kenyatta be dismissed. Even with charges for crimes against humanity pending against him, Kenyatta was able to win a controversial election [JURIST report] to the presidency in March. Kenyatta was sworn in as the country's fourth president following a ruling [JURIST report] from Kenya's Supreme Court that the election results were in fact valid.

 

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