By Lillian Aluanga
The International Criminal Court has issued an amended agenda for the Status Conference, which begins Monday in The Hague.
The conference precedes the start of trials for four persons accused of crimes against humanity during the 2007/8 post election violence.
Deputy PM Uhuru Kenyatta, former Civil Service head Francis Muthaura, Eldoret North MP William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua Sang’ were in January committed to stand trial at the ICC’s Chamber V, at a yet to be announced date.
Among issues to be discussed at the Status Conference, which runs on 11 and 12 June, are the date of trial and the Prosecution’s submissions on the issue of witness protection.
ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo has in the past been reluctant to disclose the identity of witness over safety concerns. He has also expressed his concerns over the same issue, in writing, to the Attorney General’s office.
The Chamber, while noting that the Prosecution intended to seek a ruling regarding the permissible scope of witness preparation, directed it to file written submissions on the same not later than August 13. The defence teams and legal representatives of the victims will then have 21 days from the day of filing to respond to the submissions.
Muthaura’s defence team has requested that the prosecution be required to provide signed statements of witnesses it intends to call. Ruto’s team on the other hand has asked that documents that will be relied on by the Prosecution be translated by the Registry’s translations service.
The sessions at The Hague shall be open to the public, and will run between 11.00 pm-1.00 pm (local time) and 1.30 pm-3.30 pm, on 11th June.
To avoid disclosure of sensitive information regarding witness protection an ex parte Prosecutor and Registry only session will be held on the same day between 5.00 pm - 6.30pm.
The sessions on 12th June will run between 1.00pm-3.00pm and 4.30pm-6.30 pm. An ex parte session will also be held on the same day between 7.15 pm -8.30pm.
Other items on the agenda include the timing, volume and format of disclosure of evidence by the prosecution, as well as its proposed ‘rolling disclosure’ approach to the disclosure of identities of witnesses.
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