Monday, September 23, 2013

Lawyers oppose proposal for Deputy President William Ruto to delegate duties

Lawyers oppose proposal for Deputy President William Ruto to delegate duties

Updated Tuesday, September 24th 2013 at 00:20 GMT +3

Ruto’s lawyer, Karim Khan, dismissed the remarks terming them “irresponsible prosecutorial utterances”. [Photo: File/Standard]

The Hague: The Prosecution at the International Criminal Court ( ICC) has suggested that somebody else should be sworn in on a temporary basis to discharge the duties of Deputy President William Ruto.

This came as Deputy President William Ruto’s trial at the ICC was adjourned after a request to allow him return to Nairobi following the terrorist attack on Westgate Mall.
The suggestion by Prosecution counsel Anton Stynberg triggered a heated exchange in court Monday, with Ruto’s lead lawyer, Karim Khan, rubbishing the suggestion as “a regime coup by the ICC”.
Mr Sternberg maintained that Ruto should delegate his duties as Deputy President so that the initial ICC schedule is not adversely affected.
“Mr Ruto knows and has been knowing for a considerable time now that he has a case to answer before this court,” Sternberg told the three-judge bench.
“He should delegate the necessary powers to somebody else,” he said as the court debated whether the trial could continue in Ruto’s absence.
Jubilee-allied leaders, who were following the proceedings from the public gallery, shouted in disapproval after the Prosecution made the suggestion.
In the gallery were Kericho Senator Charles Keter, Senate Deputy Speaker Kembi Gitura and his National Assembly counterpart Joyce Laboso.
But Khan dismissed the Prosecution’s remarks terming them “irresponsible prosecutorial utterances”.
He insisted that Ruto has duties delegated to him directly by the Kenyan Constitution.
Domestic issues
“Only the Attorney General of Kenya would be appropriate to speak on the Kenyan Constitution. It’s not for this court to rule on the domestic issues of a sovereign state,” Khan submitted.
Katwa Kigen also said that under the Kenyan Constitution, the Deputy President can only be replaced if completely unavailable, incapacitated or impeached.
But in his submission in court, Sternberg said that Kenya has a functioning Cabinet, security team and intelligence and can operate without Ruto.
“We are not opposed to a limited and a discreet time, no more than one week,” he said.
He, however, maintained that Ruto can get briefings and give instructions though telephone calls after court sessions in the evening.

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