Arusha, September 13, 2013 (FH) – The trial of Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto this week started before the International Criminal Court (ICC). And a French court pronounced against the extradition of a former Rwandan army deputy chief of staff.

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William Ruto’s trial starts: The joint trial of Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang got under way Tuesday before the ICC, with both accused present in court. The two men are charged with crimes against humanity committed in their country during post-electoral violence in 2007-2008. As the trial opened, they both pleaded not guilty. In her opening statement, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda accused the two of having tried, during the period in question, to “cleanse” their Rift Valley region of elements belonging to the Kikuyu ethnic group. The two accused belong to the Kalenjin ethnic group. Bensouda also denounced what she said were attempts to bribe and intimidate witnesses. Defence lawyers for Ruto and Sang pleaded their clients’ innocence. They argued that the withdrawal of certain prosecution witnesses is proof the Prosecutor’s case is not solid.


Rwandan extradition request rejected: A court in northern France on Thursday pronounced against an extradition request for former senior Rwandan army officer Laurent Serubuga, who is wanted by the judicial authorities of his country for his alleged role in the 1994 genocide. The court also ordered the release of the former Rwandan army deputy chief of staff. In its decision, the Douai appeals court deemed that the charges against him involving acts of murder have lapsed, since the arrest warrant was issued on May 17 this year, in other words more than ten years after the events in question, and without any other indictment having been issued. With regard to the principle that charges of genocide are enduring, the court observed that the Rwandan law on punishment of genocide was issued after the commitment of the alleged acts, whereas Rwandan law provides for non-retroactivity.  


Prosecutor appoints his Deputies: The Prosecutor of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, Hassan Bubacar Jallow of Gambia, appointed his deputies for the two branches of the MICT. They are Charles Karegyesa of Uganda for the Arusha branch, based in Tanzania, and Mathias Marcussen of Denmark for The Hague branch, based in The Netherlands. Karegyesa served at the ICTR office of the Prosecutor on several cases before becoming head of prosecutions at that Tribunal. Marcussen, who began his international career at the ICTR before joining the ICTY, moved up the ranks to become principal attorney. He has represented the Prosecutor in several cases, both before the trial courts and the Appeals Court.

NEXT WEEK ICC: The trial of Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang resumes on Tuesday, as does the trial of Congolese opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba.