Nairobi, Kenya: An International Criminal Court ( ICC) witness who was expected to testify against the Deputy President elect William Ruto has stepped down.
Through lawyer Paul Gicheru the witness wrote to the ICC prosecutor withdrawing each and every piece of evidence attributed to him and asked to have his name removed from the list of the prosecution witnesses.
The witness in a sworn affidavit explains that during the 2007 general election he was a PNU official but after election he was induced and enticed to be a witness of the ICC. Ruto was one of the ODM pentagon members.
The witness has withdrawn all his statements which included claims that the post-election violence was planned; he also retracted his statement that he had visited the home of the Deputy President elect.
“I have never personally visited any of the homes of William Ruto and I did not witness any event and cannot vouch for the truth or otherwise of any allegation that has been made or attributed to me against him,” said the witness in the affidavit.
In a letter written to the prosecutor which the ICC responded to, the witness who comes from Nandi asked the prosecution to remove him from the list of witnesses lined up to testify against Ruto.
He further claimed in the affidavit that he was promised that he would be rewarded and settled either in Europe, America or Australia if he testified before the ICC and that his standard of living would improve tremendously.
“The under signed who is the proprietor of the above firm of advocates was approached by the above mentioned witness with a request to prepare an affidavit under the oaths and statutory declaration Act (Cap 15) of the laws of Kenya regarding his status as a witness in the first Kenyan case pending at the ICC at the Hague and on the nature of evidence has been attributed to him by your office,” the letter addressed to Information and Evidence Unit of ICC read in part.
In the letter dated February 19, 2013, the witness demanded that ICC withdraws each and every piece of evidence attributed to him and also sought to have his name removed from the list of prosecution witnesses.
In its response, the ICC in a letter signed by the Trial Attorney Cynthia Tai addressed to Gicheru, the court acknowledged receipt of the witness letter but rejected accusation that the ICC has been involved in inducing witnesses to provide false testimony.
The ICC also asked the lawyer not to make the affidavit signed by the witness publicly, threatening of legal action.
“I am sure you will be aware that should this affidavit be made public in any way and the accusations directed against individuals in the OTP are proven to be false your client might as a result be subjected to criminal and civil liability proceedings,” the letter read in part.
Gicheru explained that the witness had recorded many statements, given many interviews where he was alleged to have said that the 2007-2008 post-election violence in Rift Valley Province was planned, organised and financed by the Kalenjin community led by people who were arraigned before the International Criminal Court.
The bodies that interviewed him included the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNHCR), the commission of Inquiry into the Post election Violence (CPV) led by Justice Phillip Waki, the Kenya Police, Maina Kiai, Cynthia Tai and other officers from the International Criminal Court.
“I would like to state solemnly and swear that all the allegations that are attributed to me in the said interviews and statements are not true. To the best of my knowledge the 2007-2008 violence was spontaneous and was not planned or financed by anybody in Rift Valley including Henry Kosgei, Joshua Sang and William Ruto,” he said.
He claimed that the interviews and statements that he made were induced by bitterness because of the rivalry between his political party PNU and ODM in his home area, which resulted in great hostility towards him and his family members who were perceived to be PNU supporters.
He claimed that upon agreeing to be a witness for the International Criminal he left Eldoret town in 2009, stayed in Nairobi under the protection of the Kenya National Commission for Human Rights and the International Medical Legal Unit (IMLU).
The witness claimed that in August 2010, he was flown to Arusha Tanzania by the International Criminal Court where he was confined in a room at the facility which he later learnt belonged to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
After several interviews he was flown to the Netherlands in or about the month of January 2011 Where he stayed in several locations together with his family.
“During my stay in the Netherlands my ID, Passport, photographs and all other documents belonging to me and my family members were confiscated,” he said.
He stated that he received periodic payments from the office of the prosecutor (OTP) whenever they required me to attend to any issue touching on the evidence in that case.
He claims he was flown back to Kenya at his own request on 26th October 2012 and had engaged in deep soul searching and his conscience could no longer allow him to stand by and insist on the truth of matters and statements that are not true.