17 February 2014

Kenya: Ruto Case Resumes With Witness Hitch

THE ICC trial against Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang is scheduled to resume today at The Hague with the statement of another witness.

However, the trial resumes with an unresolved hitch of witnesses who refuse to testify with the judges expected to rule on the issue this week.

Last week, Attorney General Githu Muigai was at The Hague where he told the court that Kenya cannot compel witnesses to testify.

"These persons reserve the right to voluntarily comply with the summons or refuse to do so," Muigai told the court.

Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has asked the judges to issue orders summoning seven witnesses who have declined to go testify in the case despite having given statements.

Bensouda claims that the witnesses have been bribed by associates of Ruto in order to leave the court's witness programme and disown their testimonies.

Ruto's lead lawyer Karim Khan has asked the witnesses to go tell the truth but also indicated last week that he will seek dismissal of all the charges if the prosecution cannot have its own witnesses testify.

"Even if they say foreign agents like USAid have pushed certain stories, fed them certain stories or encouraged them to tell certain lies, let them come to the court and reveal the truth behind this case," Khan said.

So far, 10 witnesses, most of them victims of post-election violence, have testified in the case where Ruto and Sang have been accused of organising and funding violence against pro-PNU supporters.

The defence has questioned the integrity and credibility of the witnesses some of whom have disowned their earlier statements when confronted by the defense.


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