Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - The International Criminal Court (ICC) has named
a bench of experienced judges, made up of Nigerian, Belgian and
Japanese nationals, to handle the trial of four Kenyans accused of
crimes against humanity.
Judges Christine Van den Wyngaert of Belgium, Kuniko Ozaki of Japan
and Chile Eboe-Osuji of Nigeria, were named to the trial chamber V, which sets the stage for the
start of the trial phase.
The ICC Presidency, which includes the President and two deputies,
named the three judges on Thursday, clearing the last stage for the
trial of the first case in which the ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo
directly initiated the investigations.
The trial panel was named as the last batch of the 650,000 people
displaced by the violence in the Rift Valley was resettled after
nearly five years of struggle.
ICC’s pre-trial chamber ruled the case against the four should proceed
to full trial on 23 January, insisting the prosecutors had enough evidence.
The ICC said the decision to create trial chamber V, effectively
referred the cases against William Ruto, former minister, deputy Prime
Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, radio journalist Joshua arap Sang and Francis
Muthaura, former head of the Civil Service.
The four suspects are still free from arrest and might remain free,
but an ICC Spokesperson, said there was no precedence at the Court to
allow suspects to appear before it as free individuals.
The official said most suspects were under detention even during their
Prosecutors accuse Kenyatta and Muthaura of plotting revenge attacks
against supporters of the Orange Democratic Party (ODM) in Central
Kenya during the 2007/2008 post election violence. The prosecutors
allege the two used their influence, including the powers to command
the police, to create a free zone for the attacks.
Ruto and Sang are facing charges of crimes against humanity, forced
displacements, rape and other inhumane acts committed during the
violence in the Rift Valley, where they are accused of working as a
network to organize attacks.
The attacks were meant to gain political advantage for the ODM in the
Rift Valley and targeted supporters of President Mwai Kibaki.
Kenyatta’s supporters, who believe he is the front-runner for the next
round of Presidential elections, which could be held on 4 March 2013
unless changed by the courts or parliament, want the trial postponed
for several months.
The supporters from Central Kenya said recently they planned to gather
2 million signatures to challenge the trial or ask the court to
suspend the trial until after the 2013 elections.
But an ICC official said the court would only listen cases based on
their judicial merit.
Kenyatta’s supporters have branded the upcoming trial as “politically
motivated” and called The Hague-based court, a political court.
-0- PANA AO/MA 29March2012