11 February 2016

Kenya: Friday is Make or Break for Ruto and Who Is Leaking ICC Information to Kenyan Newspapers?

analysis

In this week's press round up, we predict what's going to be on the front page of all Kenyan newspapers on Saturday and ask who is giving confidential information about the Kenyan ICC cases to local news outlets.

Unless something else truly spectacular happens on Friday, it's easy to predict what issue is going to dominate the front pages of Kenya's newspapers on Saturday morning: Did Ruto and Sang have a good or bad day at the ICC? This, of course, comes after the judges of ICC's Appeals Chamber on Monday announced that they would be making their ruling on the application of Rule 68 in the Ruto and Sang case on Friday afternoon.

The ICC appeals court judges made their intentions public on Monday. A careful reader of The Daily Nation, however, might have known a day earlier that a big week was coming up in The Hague. The Nation on Sunday published a story innocently enough entitled "Ruto awaits appeal ruling on recanted evidence use" that quoted unnamed "sources at the Hague-based court" revealing that in the coming week the Appeals Chamber would make its thinking on Rule 68 known.

"This week's decision will put to rest the controversies that have surrounded the use of Rule 68 since its enactment by the Assembly of States Parties."

The Nation had hidden its - let's call it a - scoop under a vague headline, but it didn't escape the knowing eyes of seasoned observers who initially treated the news with doubt.

Kenyan media speculating that appeals decision on recanted evidence will be released this week. #ICC #Ruto #Sang https://t.co/gOcTJmV4mA

-- Niklas Jakobsson (@Nik_Jakobsson) February 8, 2016

It turned out to not to be just empty speculation. The person who had leaked the information to The Nation was right on the money.

#Kenyan media spot on - appeals chamber to deliver Rule 68 ruling in Ruto Sang case on Friday. #ICC #Kenyahttps://t.co/ls1WNWYsSR

-- Niklas Jakobsson (@Nik_Jakobsson) February 8, 2016

The Nation's scoop shouldn't surprise anyone, especially after a week in which the #ICC took the leaking of sensitive information to slapstick levels of sloppiness in the Gbagbo case. In the Kenyan cases, the ICC has long proven itself to be a leaky boat when it comes to information. Besides The Nation, local news outlets like Capital FM and The Star regularly publish information that any discerning reader knows must have been leaked by someone very close to or within the ICC's circle of confidence. The most distressing example of this was when The Star sensationally revealed last November that the prosecutor's office at the ICC had issued four more arrest against Kenyans under seal.

ICC issues four new warrants of arrest in Ruto's case https://t.co/83HyA5iqrv pic.twitter.com/0rqs3Cl1hv

-- The Star, Kenya (@TheStarKenya) November 21, 2015

At this rate, it's a wonder that the names of all the ICC witnesses in the Kenyan cases haven't been made public. Also, publishing information that they know should not be made public tells you all you need know about the level of respect news outlets in Kenya have for the ICC process.

But enough about that, let's get back to Ruto and Sang's big day. This is the most excited the local press has been about the Kenyan ICC cases since the year began.

ICC to rule on use of recanted evidence in Ruto, Sang case on Friday https://t.co/kiVIqxKLNi pic.twitter.com/S5TAzLDKZc

-- Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) February 8, 2016

Key ruling in Ruto ICC case on recanted evidence due Friday https://t.co/LhWtSpD3CD #ICCtrial pic.twitter.com/UeeRgRxFHA

-- Capital FM Kenya (@CapitalFMKenya) February 11, 2016

Of course, excitement has its dangers. Especially when you're not entirely clear about what will happen at the appeals chamber on Friday and - because googling is hard - decide to call it a verdict.

Ruto, Sang to know ICC verdict on Friday pic.twitter.com/Sr6eruF5I0

-- PEOPLE DAILY (@PeopleDailyKe) February 9, 2016

It takes all kinds.

At any rate, there's a lot on the line for Ruto and Sang. If this article published by The Star is to be believed, there's also a lot on the line for President Uhuru Kenyatta. The Star on Thursday published a piece quoting Isaac Ruto (no relation), an influential governor from the Rift Valley, warning Uhuru that he shouldn't expect any votes from the Rift Valley if the Ruto and Sang case is still going on when the presidential poll comes around in 2017.

"Uhuru should not come here to seek for our votes if Ruto and radio journalist Joshua Sang will not have been freed. We are sending this early warning to Uhuru, that we shall no longer take it lightly as one community is sacrificed. We know those who fixed the two."

Tough talk. I am sure the president doesn't need the reminder. If Uhuru's address at the recent African Union (AU) summit is any indication, he's still throwing everything plus the proverbial kitchen sink at the ICC problem. We'll know in a few hours if his efforts are working or if the collective ICC nightmare for him, Ruto and Sang is far from over.

A Thtk Contributor

Kenya

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