By FELIX OLICK
Lawyers of post-election violence victims at International Criminal Court (ICC) want trial judges to include more express and independent charges against two Kenyan suspects in the event of a conviction.
Ms Sureta Chana wants looting, destruction of property, and infliction of injuries also included as express charges in the event of a conviction against Eldoret North MP William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang.
In her submission to the trial chamber led by Presiding Judge Kuniko Ozaki, Chana said the crimes should also be specifically referred to in the description of accounts.
“There is every reason why acts of destruction and burning of property, infliction of injuries and looting should also be specifically referred to in the description of counts as well as included as express independent charges in the event of a conviction,” reads the submission in part.
Currently, both Ruto and Sang face three counts of charges that include murder, deportation and persecution at The Hague-based court.
However, Chana said that crimes of destruction, burning of property, infliction of injuries and looting are very serious and had a huge impact on the victims and their communities. She, therefore, urges the judges to acknowledge them as crimes that have been perpetrated directly against the victims.
She argues that it would not be in the interests of justice if the two were to be acquitted on technical reasons that some other elements specific to the umbrella charge were not proved on the evidence.
“For instance, on the charges as presently formulated, the accused could not be convicted on counts three or four in respect to these acts,” she argues.
According to Chana, in an instance where victims did not leave their home areas despite injuries, destruction of property and looting, the perpetrator would not have committed deportation or forcible transfer.
“Mr Ruto has only been charged under the mode of liability in Article 25 (1) (a) of the Statute (committing the crime), and therefore any attempted deportation or forcible transfer would not be within the charges as presently formulated against him,” she argues.
She adds that for justice to be seen to have been done, any charges and convictions should reflect evidence of what actually happened.