The Hague, June 3, 2011 (FH) - Pre-Trial Chamber II at the International Criminal Court (ICC) suggested on Friday that confirmation of charges hearings in the cases of six Kenyan suspects could be conducted in Kenya.

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A confirmation of charges hearing is held to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds to believe that each suspect committed each of the crimes charged.

According to the three judges, the court can decide to hold sessions outside The Hague if "in the interests of justice".

In their decision dated June 3 and posted on the court's official website, they request "observations from the Prosecutor, the Defence, and the victims on the desirability of conducting the confirmation of charges hearings in Kenya" to be given before June 13.

"The Chamber stated that in order to properly assess the desirability and feasibility of conducting the confirmation of charges hearings in the Republic of Kenya, it was deemed valuable to receive observations from the parties and participants to the proceedings in both cases," reads the decision.

Hearings are excepted to take place on September 1st in the case against Education Minister William Ruto currently suspended because of corruption accusations; minister for Industrialization Henry Kosgey, and local radio executive Joshua Arap Sang. According to the prosecution, the three men planned the post-election violence in the Rift Valley.

In the second case, hearings should start on September 21. Uhuru Kenyatta, Finance minister and son of Kenya's founding leader, Jomo Kenyatta; General Hussein Ali, the former police chief, and Francis Muthaura, President of the National security Committee are suspected of crimes against humanity.

ICC judges had once thought about holding sessions in Bunia (Ituri, East of the DRC) but Kinshasa rejected the request, arguing that it would stir up tensions and destabilize the area.


© Hirondelle News Agency