Thursday, April 21, 2011

ICC in the Media, Update #27

Since the Kenya hearings we posted about last week the ICC has garnered little media attention. Perhaps indicative of this, stories covering an ICC judge's request that lawyers not wear their wigs due to the warm weather were featured by numerous media sources. However, operations continue at the ICC, including the proceedings of the "Kenya six". On April 19 a Status Conference took place where Ocampo stated that he would rely on extensive documents and 20 witnesses in his case, but sought to withhold the disclosure of evidence until the safety of witnesses could be better ensured by appealing a prior ICC disclosure order. On Monday morning the disclosure process began, with Ocampo redacting the disputed evidence until his appeal can be considered by the Court. The defense has also refuted the prosecution's application to require the posting of bonds, arguing that they are unnecessary and inappropriate given the voluntary cooperation of the parties. Similarly, the court has yet to rule on this issue. The date of the confirmation of charges hearing in the case - where the ICC judges will determine if there is enough evidence for the suspects to stand trial - has reportedly been set for September 1 and 21, 2011. In other news, Egypt's foreign minister announced on Wednesday Egypt's intention to join the International Criminal Court. Egypt is reportedly beginning to take the steps necessary to achieve this goal.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Six Kenyans Suspected of Crimes Against Humanity Appear at the ICC in The Hague

Six suspects made appearances at initial hearings in The Hague in response to summonses to appear issued in March. The Pre-Trial Chamber set for September 1 and September 21 for separate confirmation of charges hearings for the two cases. The appearance followed an application by Kenyan government on March 31 requesting the judges to rule that cases are inadmissible. The two cases are against Francis Kirimi Muthaura, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and Mohammed Hussein Ali; and William Samoei Ruto, Henry Kiprono Kosgey and Joshua Arap Sang. The ICC Prosecutor alleged that the six individuals are criminally responsible for crimes against humanity in post-election violence in Kenya in 2007 and 2008.
Photo: Initial appearance of suspects (from left to right) Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, Francis Kirimi Muthaura and Mohammed Hussein Ali at the ICC. © ICC-CPI/AP/Bas Czerwinski. More photos of the hearings:
April 7 and April 8.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

ICC in the Media, Update #26

This past week the media has again focused primarily on the situation in Kenya. On Friday ICC's Pre-Trial Chamber rejected the ICC Prosecutor's request to appeal an earlier decision. The court refused to reconsider its earlier finding that police were not responsible for violence in four of the six major hotspots during the post-election violence. Domestically, a controversy continues over whether the government will pay the legal fees for the "Kenya Six." Members of the PNU have claimed that a proposal allowing the government to pay the fees was approved unanimously, but the ODM wing of the government generally rejects the proposition as highly inappropriate and denies that such a proposal was ever formally discussed. Further details of a domestic judicial institution are also being worked out. Prime Minister Odinga has said that strict restraints must be put on the institution to prevent it from being manipulated by powerful parties. He has proposed that the institution be headed by foreign judges who can decide the issue impartially, and will likely be held at the Hague. Although supportive of a credible domestic institution, Odinga and other members of the ODM continue to support the Kenyan proceedings at the ICC. However, the "Kenya Six" continue to make every effort to stop the ICC proceedings. On Monday ICC judges confirmed receiving an application from the Kenyan government to quash the proceedings based on Article 19 of the Rome Statute. Under that article a state may challenge the admissibility of a case before the ICC on the grounds that the state is already investigating and prosecuting the case domestically. An article 19 application may only be made once in a case, so the determination of the ICC judges on the matter will be extremely important. While the judges make this determination the proceedings against the Kenyans will continue as planned, starting with appearances by the suspects on April 7 and 8, 2011.

In other news, ICC Prosecutor Ocampo has stated that he is "one hundred percent" certain that ICC investigations in Libya will result in crimes against humanity charges against Gaddafi and members of his regime. He is set to present his findings to the U.N. Security Council on May 4, and present his case to the ICC judges several weeks after. Stephen Rapp, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes, echoed this sentiment last week, saying that it is not a question of if the ICC will serve justice in Libya, it is a question of when. Callixte Mbarushimana, indicted for atrocity crimes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, made an application to the ICC last week for his release from detention so that he can return home to France. The result of his application has not yet been decided. Photo credit: Daily Nation.