Caressing the Big Fish? A Critique of ICC Trial Chamber V(a)’s Decision to Grant Ruto’s Request for Excusal from Continuous Presence at Trial
19 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2013 Last revised: 22 Oct 2013
Date Written: July 1, 2013
This comment analyses the decision of Trial Chamber V(a) to grant newly elected Vice President of Kenya William Ruto’s request for excusal from continuous presence at trial. The comment argues that the Chamber’s decision clearly deviates from the concept of equality before the law, as enshrined both in the Rome Statute and other applicable sources of law. It is argued that the decision relies on dubious interpretative methods in order to circumvent the wording of otherwise clear provisions in the Statute, notably Article 63(1) concerning the accused’s presence at trial and Article 27 concerning the irrelevance of official capacity and the obligation to treat all persons equally. By basing its decision on Ruto’s official status, the Trial Chamber may be creating a precedent for granting state officials special treatment in a Court that many had otherwise thought was intended to specifically target crimes of state officials.
Keywords: Decision on Ruto's Request for Excusal from Continuous Presence at Trial, International Criminal Court, Articles 27 and 63 of the Rome Statute, Equality before the Law
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