The writing is on the wall. The unprecedented announcement by O’Campo last December of six suspects he will be seeking summons against long before the ex parte hearings begin would raise fair trial questions. In its letter applying for deferral of the case to the Security Council, Kenya argued that the announcement of the six suspects had already unfairly prejudiced them. See story on the deferral letter here.
Now the Pre-Trial Chamber has issued a ruling denying relief to participate in the Article 58(7) of the Rome Statute Ex Parte Proceedings sought by one of the six Kenyan suspects, (Mohammed Hussein Ali), but in the process chiding O’Campo for having made the announcement to the press in the manner he did before seeking the summons. Said the three judges:
“The Chamber is cognizant of the concerns of the Applicant with respect to theprejudice suffered due to the public disclosure of his name made by the Prosecutor…While it is not the Chamber’s role to comment and advise the Prosecutor on his interaction with the press and media, the Chamber nevertheless is concerned if his actions have the potential to affect the administration of justice and the integrity of the present proceedings before the Chamber. In this respect, the Chamber expresses its deprecation regarding the Prosecutor’s course of action in the present case, as it has unduly exposed the Applicant to prejudicial publicity before a determination of the Chamber pursuant to article 58 of the Statute has even been made.” See ruling here.
In the meantime, opinion polls in the country continue to show majority support for Hague trials. See story here.