Trial Chamber V (A) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on 17 April 2014, granted, the Prosecutor’s request to subpoena eight Kenyan witnesses to appear before the Trial Chamber in the trial of the case against Samoei William Ruto and Joshua Arap Sang by majority.
According to the Prosecution, those eight witnesses are now no longer cooperating or have informed the Prosecution that they are no longer willing to testify.
Before rendering the decision, the Chamber received written and oral observations from the Defense counsel, the legal representative of victims, and the Attorney-General of Kenya. In their decision, the Chamber decided, by majority, to grant the request to compel the attendance of the witnesses.
The Chamber considered that the decision was amply supported by both general international law and the provisions of the Rome Statute, to the effect that the Rome Statute States Parties did not intend to create an ICC that is ‘in terms a substance, in truth a phantom’.
Rather, they must be presumed to have created a court with every necessary competence, power, ability and capability to exercise its functions and fulfill its mandate in an effective way. These include the power to subpoena witnesses.
In that connection, the Chamber found that there is unity among international law, the Rome Statute, the Constitution of Kenya and the laws of Kenya concerning its dealings with the ICC.
In the result, the Chamber found that the Government of Kenya has an obligation to cooperate fully with the Court: by serving the subpoenas to the witnesses and by assisting in compelling their attendance before the Chamber, by the use of compulsory measures as necessary.
Trial Chamber V (a) directed the Registry of the Court to prepare and transmit a cooperation request to the Republic of Kenya for:
Deputy President William Ruto and Journalist Joshua Arap Sang are accused of crimes against humanity which include murder, deportation or forcible transfer of population and persecution which are allegedly committed in Kenya in the context of the 2007-2008 post-election violence.
Opening statements of these were made on 10 September before the ICC Trial Chamber V (a), this is way long before Ruto became the Deputy President
The ICC is an independent, permanent court that tries persons accused of the most serious crimes of international concern, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
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