Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Judge Christine Van den Wyngaert Is Excused and Dissents From Uhru Kenyatta Case

Judge Christine Van den Wyngaert at the Hague.  Photo Credit:

By Catherine Mullin
In a document dated April 8, 2013, Judge Christine Van den Wyngaert requested to be excused from the case being brought against Uhru Kenyatta. 

Judge Van den Wyngaert cited her workload as the reason for her request.  She is currently serving in Pre-Trial Chamber I (Ivory Coast and Libya), Trial Chamber II (Katanga case), and temporarily on the two Kenya trials in Trial Chamber V.  She claimed that the five cases are “by all standards, an unprecedented and unusually high workload for a judge.”  The Presidency decided to accept her request, and replaced Judge Van den Wyngaert in Trial Chamber V.

Though the Presidency attributed her removal to her heavy workload, there have been thoughts that the Prosecutor’s handling of the case may also have contributed to Judge Van den Wyngaert’s request.  In a concurring opinion dated April 26, 2013 Judge Van den Wyngaert criticized the prosecutor’s preparation for the case: “[T]here are serious questions as to whether the Prosecution conducted a full and thorough investigation of the case against the accused prior to confirmation.”  The Presidency also noted that the document of Judge Van den Wyngaert’s request that was made public was redacted, leaving some wondering what else the Judge has mentioned as a reason for her desire to be moved from Trial Chamber V.  We are sending separately more news and assessment of this difficult case. Its outcome is likely to affect American perceptions of the performance and viability of the Court.


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