By ALEX NDEGWA
Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura want a public session of the Appeals Chamber hearing of their challenge to the International Criminal Courtâs (ICC) jurisdiction.
Their lawyers have jointly requested the leave of the Appeals Chamber to make oral submissions in support of the challenge to the jurisdiction of the court in a public hearing.
Separately, Judge Kuniko Ozaki was elected Presiding Judge of Trial Chamber V that will hear the crimes against humanity cases against Uhuru, Muthaura, Eldoret North MP William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua Sang. Uhuru and Muthaura invoke "the interest of justice and fair trial rights" to implore the Appeals Chamber to exercise the "inherent discretion" to convene a hearing.
ICC rules provide the appeal proceedings shall be in writing unless the Appeals Chamber decides to convene a hearing. "The Defence submits that an oral hearing will serve to guarantee the public nature of the proceedings, particularly given the intense public interest in this case in Kenya, Africa and the wider international community," states the application.
It adds, "The need to ensure that the matter has been both thoroughly and publicly examined is underscored by the fact that a determination on the issue of jurisdiction may bring these proceedings to an end."
Steven Kay and Gillian Higgins for Uhuru and Muthauraâs Karim Khan argue oral submissions would provide an opportunity to expand arguments detailed in their written submissions. The defence further contends the trial has not commenced and no delay will be caused by oral argument taking place as part of the appeal. Uhuru and Muthaura have petitioned the Trial Chamber separately to delay setting the trial date pending determination of the jurisdiction appeal.