19 September 2013

Kenya: Ugandan Man Denies ICC Witness Intimidation

Photo: ICC
Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto at the International Criminal Court.

A Ugandan man living in Kenya says he is not behind the alleged intimidation of witnesses connected with the International Criminal Court (ICC) trial of Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and radio executive Joshua Sang.

But David Nyekorach-Matsanga, CEO of the Pan African Forum, accused the ICC of what he calls inducing and procuring witnesses against Mr. Ruto.

This comes after ICC Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji Wednesday warned the public not to reveal the identity of prosecution witnesses.

A number of online bloggers and social media users said they had identified the first witness in the case.

While the ICC did not name Matsanga, a published report identifies him as the man behind the withdrawal of ICC witnesses.

Matsanga said he has called for the setting up of an independent international panel to look into the way evidence was collected in Kenya by former ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo.

"I have never and will never get involved in any type of witness-tampering and intimidation. On the contrary, it is the ICC that has been doing the intimidation and procurement of witnesses. And that is why I am demanding an independent panel by state parties and a commission of inquiry into the way evidence was collected in Kenya. Witnesses were coached by Ruto political opponents," he said.

Matsanga said he respects the ICC as an institution but not the office of the Chief Prosecutor because he said it has done a poor job on most of its cases in Africa.

He said the ICC used intermediaries, including Kenyan non-governmental organizations to investigate and collect flawed evidence against Ruto and his co-defendants.

A published report said Matsanga is said to be "working with two judges in the Kenyan cases and a number of paralegals at the ICC who give him information on witnesses".

Matsanga denies he had been a consultant to President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto in their ICC cases.

"I have never been employed by President Uhuru Kenyatta; I never drank tea or coffee with Uhuru Kenyatta or Ruto, full stop. I have never applied, made an appointment, signed any contract, or worked with Uhuru Kenyatta on the ICC case," Matsanga said.

He confessed to being a critic of former ICC Chief Prosecutor Moreno Ocampo.

"I have been a critic of the Chief Prosecutor's office. I have been a critic of Ocampo who came with opportunistic NGOs in Kenya to kill international justice. That is all I have done," Matsanga said.

Matsanga said Kenya is not a banana republic where witnesses are sometimes killed. He said witnesses in the Ruto ICC case are withdrawing not because they are been threatened or intimidated but because they were promised material things like passports, good houses, and good education which never came to fruition.

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