This week the media has primarily focused on the start of three Kenya violence suspects' confirmation of charges hearings. Last week the ICC Appeals Chamber responded to the suspects' appeal challenging the admissability of the cases at the ICC. The judges dismissed the appeal and determined that the ICC's jurisdiction is proper given the lack of domestic efforts to pursue the suspects. With the appeal dismissed, the confirmation of charges hearings for suspects Sang, Kosgey and Ruto began on September 1. The hearings for the second set of suspects will follow soon after. Several local civil rights organizations are urging the ICC to deliver its rulings on whether to proceed with each of the six suspects simultaneously to minimize the possibility of violence breaking out due to longstanding political and ethnic tensions on both sides of the conflict. Reportedly many of the Kenyans who remain internally displaced by the 2008 post-election violence are looking to the trials in hopes that justice will be done. Other victims of the violence are reportedly watching the hearings with anticipation hoping that they will finally be able to see those who orchestrated it be held responsible. Suspect Kosgey has now completed his submission in the confirmation of charges hearings and, unlike the other suspects, he declined to present any witnesses. His strategy reportedly consisted primarily of distancing himself with any group that organized the violence and poking holes in the prosecution's evidence against him. The defenses of suspects Ruto and Sang have included accusing the ICC Prosecutor of ignoring evidence against Kenya's Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, for political reasons. The Prosecutor has previously made statements that he has no evidence against Kenya's PM or President. However, a Nairobi lawyer has criticized the defense saying that the suspects should concentrate on denying the existence of a criminal conspiracy, not point out that Ocampo overlooked a participant in it. Reportedly the ICC judges have become concerned with witness coaching having heard witness testimonies from the defense over the past several days.
In other news, last week the Philippines officially became a state party to the International Criminal Court. It is the 117th state to become party to the Rome Statute, having been passed by the Senate with 17 affirmative and only 1 negative vote. Photo credit: IPS.