By WAHOME THUKU and VITALIS KIMUTAI
Barring a contrary ruling by the Trial Chamber judges, it is almost certain that the two Kenyan cases at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands will be heard after the general election.
It means that Deputy Prime Minister and Eldoret North MP William Ruto are free men to run for office in the polls either as presidential candidates or in any other capacity, unless Kenyan courts rule otherwise.
The four suspects might have received the news with a sigh of relief Monday when the Office of the ICC Prosecutor intimated it was not opposed to a trial after March 2013. The mention of March was an indirect reference to March 14, when the elections are scheduled.
The prosecution is unlikely to change its position this morning when a similar conference is held in the case against Uhuru and former Head of the Civil Service Francis Mathura.
It also emerged Monday that the late Internal Security minister George Saitoti was listed to testify in the trial of the four Kenyans at the International Criminal Court.
The other suspects are Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former Head of the Civil Service Francis Muthaura.
During the status conference Monday, the ICC prosecution condoled with the Kenya government following the death of the minister.
“We have lost a key witness. Saitoti was one of the witnesses in these proceedings,” the prosecutor said at the opening of the session.
The late Saitoti’s appearance on the list of witnesses may have been necessitated by the fact that in July 2009, he was appointed chairman of a special Cabinet sub-committee to oversee the affairs of the ICC in Kenya.
Other members of the committee were former Justice minister Mutula Kilonzo, Trade minister Moses Wetangula then in Foreign Affairs, Lands minister James Orengo, Immigration minister Otieno Kajwang and Fisheries minister Amason Kingi.
The committee was to coordinate cooperation between the ICC and the Kenya government during the investigations into the post-election violence, which led to the indictment of the four suspects.
Saitoti hosted ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo during his visits at the height of the investigations.
The minister was also vocal in defending President Kibaki from any link to the post-election violence and the ICC proceedings. He also held the position that only the Constitution could bar Ruto and Uhuru from running for the presidency in which he was also preparing to contest.
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