Uhuru, Ruto to stand trial during presidential run-off
SEE ALSO :Calls for Jubilee party meetingSecond hurdle Although Uhuru and Ruto have insisted the ICC cases would not stop them from contesting the presidency, another hurdle is a pending court case in which the International Centre for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) has sought the ruling of the High Court on their eligibility. The civil society organisation wants the High Court to state whether Uhuru and Ruto meet the requirements of Chapter Six of the Constitution of leadership and integrity. The ruling is due on July 31. Chief Justice Willy Mutunga is on record as warning the Judiciary will stand firm and ensure leaders who fail to meet the threshold of integrity as set out in the Constitution are not allowed to run for public office. Saying he would forever fight “in the trenches of reform”, Mutunga has dismissed claims by a section of lawyers, mps, and political leaders that Chapter Six of the Constitution on leadership and integrity stands suspended until a Bill is passed to implement it.
SEE ALSO :Trade with China skewed against KenyaThe CJ has also promised to ensure that the courts uphold Chapter Six of the Constitution to weed out individuals who do not meet integrity and leadership standards. The CJ has been emphatic that the courts must be seen to uphold the spirit of the Constitution when it comes to interpreting Chapter Six, which he warned could still be used to vet those seeking leadership positions. On the other hand it is around the same time, April 10 tentatively, that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has planned the historical presidential run-off poll in the event there is no outright winner after the March 4 vote. The prosecution’s request for the staggered disclosure of witnesses and evidence, and given that the defence requires three months to prepare for trial are among the factors that influenced the judges’ decision on the trial dates. The run-off dilemma aside, the ICC suspects have to contend with the financial strain likely to emerge from running presidential campaigns while preparing for trials for international crimes. Between now and April 10, Uhuru and Ruto will have to split their time between political campaigns and preparing for their cases. That the prosecution intends to change the character of the charges against Uhuru, Ruto, and Muthaura to boost chances of conviction underlines the defence must fight even harder. Part 6 and Article 61 (9) of the Rome Statute states in part: “After the charges are confirmed and before the trial has begun, the Prosecutor may, with the permission of the Pre-Trial Chamber and after notice to the accused, amend the charges.” After amending charges in the Thomas Lubanga case, the prosecution secured its first ever conviction from a full trial. Lubanga was sentenced to 14 years, but will only serve eight as he spent six years in custody before and during his trial. The costs associated with an ICC trial are heavy in terms of legal fees, transport, and accommodation, among other expenses. Apart from the financial implications, the distraction in time off the campaigns to consult lawyers preparing defence is another challenge. One of Sang’s lawyers, Katwa Kigen, however, downplayed the suggestion that preparation for defence would interrupt the affairs of the suspects.
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