The Star (Nairobi)

31 December 2012

Kenya: German Expert to Testify in Ruto ICC Case

A German doctor who helped ICC convict Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga is one of the expert witnesses who chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda will call in the case against Eldoret North MP William Ruto.

Ruto's trial is expected to start in April next year. He and former radio presenter Joshua wrap Sang are facing crimes against humanity in connection with the 2007 post election violence.

Others who are due to appear in the same court are Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former head of the Civil Service Francis Muthaura who are facing five counts each.

Dr. Elisabeth Kaiser will testify on post-traumatic stress disorder. Lubanga was in July this year sentenced to 14 years imprisonment for enlisting child soldiers.

"Dr. Kaiser is a qualified and recognized expert in this field of expertise. She has been accepted onto the list of experts maintained by the Registry and had testified as such before Trial Chamber I in Lubanga case," Bensouda said.

Kaiser is a public mental health professional who has specialized in the field known as psychotraumatology. She also focuses on women and children health. She has worked for organizations such as UNICEF, UNIFEM, WHO and UNAIDS in various parts of Africa.

Since 2001, Kaiser has been a director of an International NGO that aims at research, prevention and therapy of the consequences of traumatic stress on violence and conflict‐affected individuals and communities.

"In light of the unsuccessful attempts to reach a consensus with the defence, the prosecution intends to call Dr. Kaiser as its own expert witness," Bensouda said.

Both Ruto and Sang have been opposed to Kaiser's testifying in the court saying they are not clear how she will assist the court in determining the guilt or innocence of the accused.

"Counsel for Mr. Ruto questioned the assistance of such expert evidence to the chamber when such evidence is based on general questions unrelated to a particular group or individual," Bensouda told trial judges last month.

She however disagreed with them saying in the past the court had found such an expert to be of immense assistance irrespective of whether or not the expert has personally carried out an examination of the witnesses in question.

Kaiser joins two other experts whom Bensouda has indicated that she will call. The other two are Prof. Herve Maupeu, a French socio-political scientist and Lars Bromley, an American satellite imagery expert.

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