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ICC rejects Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda's request to include two more dates on Ruto/Sang cases

By Julian Kamau | December 13th 2013

By Julian Kamau

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) today dismissed the Prosecutor’s appeal against the decision of Pre-Trial Chamber II rejecting her request to amend the temporal scope of the charges against William Samoei Ruto and Joshua Arap Sang.

On 23 January 2012, the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II had confirmed the charges against the two accused, inter alia, for crimes against humanity allegedly committed between 1 January 2008 and 4 January 2008 in the greater Eldoret area. The Prosecutor sought an amendment to the temporal framework of the charges in that area to include the 30 and 31 of December 2007.

In today’s decision, the Appeals Chamber considered, by majority, Judge Anita Ušacka dissenting, that, once the trial has commenced, it is no longer possible to amend or to add to the charges. According to the Regulations of the Court, a Trial Chamber may, during the trial, only modify the legal characterization of the facts however without exceeding the facts and circumstances described in the charges. Noting that, in the present case, opening statements were made on 10 September 2013 and the first witness was heard on 17 September 2013, and further noting that the Prosecutor did not request a postponement of the trial, the Appeals Chamber concluded that the appeal is inadmissible and dismissed the Prosecutor’s request.

In her dissent, Judge Ušacka emphasised that the Prosecutor sought an amendment of the charges before the commencement of trial and found that the Prosecutor’s appeal should have been considered on the merits.

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