The ICC trial chamber has rejected lawyer Paul Gicheru defence team’s request to temporarily stay proceedings.
On September 17, the defence filed a request to temporarily stay the proceedings, informing the Chamber that it has filed a request for disqualification of Judge Samba with the Presidency.
It submits that further rulings by Judge Samba would jeopardise the fair trial rights of the defence and therefore requested the Status Conference and all proceedings are suspended until a decision by the Plenary on the pending disqualification request.
The prosecution filed its response on September 20, arguing that the request should be rejected since a stay of proceedings is an exceptional remedy and the request does not meet the high threshold for such a measure.
The prosecution added that even the mere postponement of the Status Conference without a temporary stay of proceedings should also not be granted.
The Chamber issued the decision publicly, despite the request and response being filed as ‘confidential’.
The Chamber reminded the parties of the principle of publicity of the proceedings, which mandates that there needs to be a specific justification to file submissions as confidential.
“In respect of the justification provided by the defence to file its request to disqualify Judge Samba as ‘confidential’, the Chamber finds that the mere fact that the Defence requested disqualification can be public.”
Consequently, the defence has been ordered to either request reclassification of its request as ‘public’ or file a public-redacted version forthwith.
The Chamber said that the defence has not presented any argument which warrants a temporary stay of proceedings.
“The defence does not explain why these steps cannot be taken while waiting for the outcome of its request for disqualification.”
“Indeed, the defence fails to explain how the prior employment of Judge Samba with the Office of the Prosecutor or her limited and purely logistical involvement in the Kenya situation would risk prejudicing the Defence when it comes to matters of trial management. “