12 May 2014

Kenya: Ruto, Sang ICC Trial Delayed Over Witnesses Hitch

Photo: ICC
Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto at the Hague in 2013.

Nairobi — The International Criminal Court (ICC) trial against Deputy President William Ruto and Joshua arap Sang has again been postponed for lack of witnesses.

According to sources, the trial which was supposed to resume on Monday was delayed to Wednesday when the prosecution expects to have a witness ready.

Ruto who was to travel to The Hague on Sunday for the trial is now due to leave Nairobi on Tuesday evening.

Ruto's physical presence is mandatory after ICC judges directed that he should appear during the first five days after the court's recess.

The judges, when granting Ruto excusal from continuous presence, also gave eight other conditions when his attendance is mandatory.

The judges have so far ordered his presence during the entirety of the testimony of witness P0028 who according to the prosecution has 'insider information' of the network that planned attacks in the Rift Valley.

Anton Steynberg for the prosecution during the last session before the Easter break told the court that P0028 would require about a month to give his testimony. The prosecution has indicated that P0028 is a key witness whose evidence was used to confirm charges against Ruto. READ Ruto, Sang ICC trial resumes May 12

In an earlier interview, one of the defence lawyers told Capital FM news that they had not been served with the list of prosecution witnesses as should have been the case.

"We know the trial is resuming on May 12, but we don't know which witness will take the stand because we do not have the list," the lawyer said.

So far, 16 prosecution witnesses have testified before The Hague based court on the events that occurred in December 2007 and January 2008 in reference to charges against Ruto and Sang.

The trial of the two opened on September 10, 2013.

They are accused of murder, deportation or forcible transfer of population and persecution committed in Kenya during the post election violence.

The trial of President Uhuru Kenyatta who is the only accused person in Kenya Case II is scheduled to start on October 7, 2014.

The Kenyan cases have been facing a myriad of challenges with counter accusations between the prosecution and the defence teams of Ruto, Sang and Kenyatta.

Whereas the prosecution alleges that its witnesses have been intimidated and bribed, the defence teams have accused the Office of the Prosecutor of coaching witnesses hence some of them have since withdrawn their evidence or admitted that they had lied to the court.

The ICC process began in Kenya on November 26, 2009 when former Prosecutor Luis Ocampo asked for authorisation to institute investigations in Kenya after the disputed presidential election that left over 1,000 people dead and over 350,000 others displaced.

On March 8, 2011, the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber confirmed charges against Ruto, Sang and Kenyatta who have since been committed to trial.

It also confirmed charges against former Industrialisation Minister Henry Kosgey, former Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura and former Police Commissioner Hussein Ali but had their charges dropped.

But with the progression of the two cases - one against Ruto and Sang and the other against President Kenyatta - the ICC has been challenged over the credibility of witnesses.

On the other hand, the court has blamed Kenya for intimidating witnesses and also refusing to cooperate with the court especially in the near collapsing case against President Kenyatta.

The prosecution has admitted it does not have evidence to sustain charges against the Kenyan President.

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