BY NZAU MUSAU
International Criminal Court suspects Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, former Police Commissioner Hussein Ali and the Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura have closed ranks to fight off the inclusion of rape and sexual violence in the final list of charges drawn up by ICC chief prosecutor Louis Moreno Ocampo.
Their lawyers have written to the court asking for the charges to be redrawn to exclude the allegations of rape in Naivasha as well as other sexual violence charges which they claim were not contained in the original summons to appear early this year.
They say Ocampo ignored a disqualification of the rape charge delivered earlier in the year and re-classification of sexual violence into “other inhumane acts.” They also say Ocampo caught them by surprise with his fresh allegations necessitating the need to reorganize their defence at the last minute. “In the decision issuing summons, the Chamber found that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that rape as an act constituting crimes was committed in Naivasha. Notwithstanding this clear finding, the prosecution (Ocampo) has included allegations of rape in Naivasha,” Muthaura’s defence said.
The three also want the prosecutor barred from expanding the period of the charges filed against. In the summons, the period during which the three committed the alleged crimes was between January 24th to January 31st 2008. However, the list of charges refers to the period between December 30th, 2007 to February 29th, 2008.
They also want Ocampo curtailed from expanding the locations of the alleged crimes from the original locations of “Nakuru” and “Naivasha”. Ocampo’s final list of charges accuses the three of committing the crimes “in or around locations including Nakuru town (Nakuru District, Rift Valley Province) and Naivasha Town (Naivasha District, Rift Valley Province).”
Further, the three claim the details of alleged preparatory meetings are ‘imprecise and vague’, that his claims that there was a common plan to attack lacked important particulars and that he ‘generalized’ the identity of victims by referring them as “ODM supporters.” Uhuru is particularly irked by new allegations which accuse him of being a leader of Mungiki among other things.
Fresh allegations against Ali are that he was involved in the alleged killings of top Mungiki leaders who were involved in the violence. “The new allegations represent a complete change in the direction of the prosecutor’s case and are entirely based upon the witness evidence disclosed on 19th August. The evidence requires the Defence to investigate the new allegations and interview further witnesses in order to rebut the serious allegations in preparation for the confirmation hearing,” a joint filing by Uhuru and Ali’s lawyers said.
Ocampo has however asked the court to ignore the three saying he has the prerogative to profer charges. He said the pretrial chamber decision knocking off rape was did not rule out the charge so long as he presented more evidence which he claims he has done.
The three are supposed to appear before the court on September 21. They have already identified two witnesses each who will appear before the judge to speak on their behalf.
They are however concerned that with the new allegations, they may not be able to fully present their case and want Ocampo to be compelled to redraw his charge sheet or drop the charges altogether.
The judges are expected to rule before the three appear at the Hague. If their request is granted, they will not face rape and sexual violence charges. This is something that the other suspectsâ€”William Ruto, Henry Kosgey and Joshua arap Sangâ€” are not facing.