The defence lawyer for Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey has advised the post-election suspects whose cases were confirmed to forget the appeals they have lodged at The Hague and start preparation for full trials. Julius Kemboi, who successfully defended Kosgey at the confirmation of charges stage, yesterday told a public lecture at the Mt Kenya University’s Nairobi campus that going by precedent, the ICC’s Appeals Chamber is unlikely to give a favourable ruling.
The ICC Pre-Trial Chamber confirmed charges against DeputyPrime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, former public service head Francis Muthaura and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang over their alleged role in the post-election violence. All the four have filed appeals seeking to overturn the indictments and avoid full trial.
“The prospects of obtaining leave to appeal are not very good,” Kemboi said. “Thereis no one instance that the Court has granted leave to appeal,” he added. The charges against Kemboi’s client were dismissed by the Pre-Trial Chamber when in it delivered its ruling on January 23 this year. Apart from Kosgey, Post Master General Mohammed Hussein Ali also had the charges against not confirmed.
According to Kemboi, the outcome of theconfirmation of the charges was down to the strategies adopted by the defence counsels for each suspect. “There are a lot of strategies that defence teams adopt. For us, it was to focus on the prosecutor’scharges one by one without bringing into play any sideshows,” said Mr Kemboi.
According to him, the remaining four suspects could give the prosecution more information than necessary at the appeal stage which would work against them later on if they fail in their attempts to overturn the Pre-Trial Chamber’s decision. “May be their counsels have assumed that there couldbe one in 100 chances of succeeding with the appeals. These are options that sometimes we as defence counsels have to try,” he said.
At the same time, Mr Kemboi took a swipe at Prof Steven Kay who leads Kenyatta’s defence over the latter’s remarks that the Kenyan cases were fixed to serve the powerful world political players. Prof Steven Kay told a public panel debate at the School of African and Oriental Studies, London early February that international tribunals were fixed, hostile to suspects and guided by powerful world political forces bent on making “some individuals an example” inthe name of the international campaign against impunity.
In response, Mr Kemboi said termed Prof Kay’s remarks as “irresponsible”. “It was his right to express himself as he did but that was the most irresponsible expression that could come out of someone who is involved in this process. The ICC is composed of judges from different countries and it doesn’t make sense that they could all come together to fix a case. It is a statement that is better ignored,” said MrKemboi.
The public lecture was on the topic “ICC Process in Kenya: Can It Work?” Speaking at the event, outgoing Law Society of Kenya chairman Kenneth Akide warned the government against using public resource to defend the suspects. Mr Akide asserted that the legal team put together by Attorney General Githu Muigai to advice President Kibaki soon after the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber ruling amounted to misuse of public resources.
“The government ought to know that it is the individual suspects who are on trial, not the country,”he said. Maria Camara from the ICC Nairobi regional office noted that the cases have been sensationalised to the point that the victims have been forgotten. “The way Kenyans have sensationalised the issue would make one think that the suspects have become the victims,” said Ms Camara. During the event, the ICC donated books to Mt Kenya University as part of the co-operation between the court and the institution’s School of Law.