Nairobi — In a presentation packed with quotes and analogies, the Legal Representative for Victims in the Ruto-Sang case, Wilfred Nderitu, prayed that the victims will not be lost in the argumentative rhetoric.
Nderitu told the three-judge bench presiding over the case that the only way they could ever truly unmask those responsible for the 2007-8 Post-Election Violence (PEV) is through the testimony of the victims.
"The victims pray that the chamber will constantly bear in mind that without their views and concerns being effectively heard, then any talk of a fair-trial will be no more than talk," he stated.
He went on to state that the victims had so far been disappointed in the pursuit of justice and called on the chamber to remedy this by convicting those found to be responsible for their plight.
"They are therefore expressing the hope that through the process before you those who bear the greatest responsibility for Kenya's darkest hour will be identified and ultimately convicted," he said.
The withdrawal of witnesses, Nderitu continued to state, was of particular concern to the victims as it risked calling into question the credibility of the case before the International Criminal Court.
"The root cause for these unprecedented withdrawals is yet to be established and if unchecked will threaten the credibility of this trial... I hasten to warn that the withdrawals may well spell the death kneel for this court," he stated.
Kenya's attempt to withdraw as a party state to the Rome Statute, Nderitu said, had also caused the 628 victims he represents distress as did the Kenyan government's earlier attempt to have the cases deferred.
They have travelled a long road and witnessed many attempts at scuttling the criminal justice process including lukewarm investigations and prosecutions domestically, he stated.
"They have travelled a long road and witnessed many attempts at scuttling the criminal justice process including lukewarm investigations and prosecutions domestically," he stated.
Nderitu also faulted the chamber for constantly pushing of start of the trial, which he said led his clients to believe that justice might never come.
"The victims have many a times voiced their concerns that the trial was taking far too long to commence and feel that through you, they can now walk along the road from Justice denied to Justice restored."
And while the chamber would be compelled to take into consideration Nderitu's opening statement as the trial proceeds, President Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji said they would fall short of adopting the, "anger" Nderitu implored them to adopt.