Uhuru Kenyatta Kenya - Kenyan presidential hopeful, Uhuru Kenyatta, sought the postponement of his trial for crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court (ICC) Thursday, citing the prosecutor’s failure to disclose the identities of eight key witnesses.
Kenyatta, who made an appearance before court via a video link to swear to abide by the conditions set by the pre-trial and the trial chambers, said the 11 April commencement of the trial would not allow a fair trial because of the sheer volumes of new evidence, including 4,000 pages being disclosed.
“The critical cabal of the witnesses is coming to this Court to lie. Witness 4 was a liar, we need time to expose these lies,” said his British lawyer Stephen Kay: “It is our submission that a number of those making allegations were not there at the time.”
Former cabinet chief, Francis Muthaura, who is also facing the trial for the crimes committed after the 2007/08 elections, also called for the postponement of the trial.
“I am advising the Court that it is so extreme to delay the trial,” said Karim Ahmed Khan, Muthaura’s lawyer, who criticized the ICC Prosecutor for shielding evidence and disclosing only portions.
Kenyatta is a front-runner in the Presidential elections due in 4 March. A delay in the start of the trial would benefit his campaign should the Kenyan elections proceed into a run-off.
“The trial is not possible in April because of the massive violations by Prosecution…the Prosecution with a straight face said it would complete disclosure by March. We have already put an application because they have made completely new allegations and which have not been investigated before,” Khan said.
The Defence said the Prosecutor has made allegations of certain meetings having taken place but has not given dates and the time. The Prosecution has an ethical reason to inform us, not just win a conviction,” Khan told the trial panel.
Presiding Judge Kuniko Ozaki told the suspects the Summons to appear continue in effect and that the existing conditions remain in effect. She called on each of the accused to confirm that the decisions of trial chamber continue in effect until otherwise ordered by trial chamber.
On Kenyatta’s request to be allowed to use video link…the Chamber requested written submissions, including legal basis and the practical basis of doing so by 28 February.
The Court granted a request by the Prosecutor to delay the disclosure of witness identities until the security of the witnesses is guaranteed. There are some eight witnesses who need protective measures in place. However, the judge called on the Prosecutor to disclose the identities by 11 March, 2013.
Meanwhile, Chamber will decide trial date taking into consideration submission by the parties.