Uhuru takes a big risk on ICC


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ByaseL

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ByaseL

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By Alex Ndegwa and Judy Ogutu



Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta has taken a bold and potentially risky move, which will see him cross-examined as a witness at the International Criminal Court next week.

For two days Uhuru will be cross-examined by the lawyers for the victims, representatives of the defence in the chamber, the Office of the Prosecutor, and the Pre-Trial Chamber II judges led by Justice Ekaterina Trendafilova. Uhuru, who doubles up as Finance minister, is among the six prominent Kenyans ICC prosecutor LuisMoreno-Ocampo wants charged with crimes against humanity. [TABLE="align: left"]
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His confirmation hearing begins on September 21, alongside that of Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura and former Police Commissioner and current Postmaster General Hussein Ali.


But he will be taking the witness box on Wednesday, September 28, and the following day.
He will take the stand at 18.30hrs -7.30pm local time- on September 28, for questioning by his lawyers and conclude the following day after cross-examination by the prosecution, according to a schedule the ICC released on Wednesday.
Lawyers The Standard talked to said although Uhuru’s move can be interpreted as an act of boldness, showing he has nothing to hide; the cross-examination can also put him in a potentially risky position.


Lawyer Peter Kaluma, argued confirmation hearing was not the right stage for a suspect to take the witness box, as he risks "exposing himself".
"It is not the time for this, he may shoot himself on the foot once he exposes himself to cross-examination, which is usually not controlled. He may expose himself to being confirmed. The best strategy is to say very little because the burden of proof lies with the prosecution. It is not the right move," warns Kaluma.


He added that ICC process was an internationally geared process where one should not play into the hands of the prosecution.
"It is not something I would advice. Once you take the witness stand, you are telling people you are ready for trial. You expose yourself to provocation by lawyers; (and) you have no control of questions. I would advise against it," he added.
"He should embrace possibility of the impression being created that he does not have evidence exonerating himself. His move may be opening him up to confirmation," argued lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui.
He added it would have been in Uhuru’s favour to bring independent witnesses, given that there were witnesses who allegedly gave testimony incriminating him.


 

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