ICC witness who recanted Ruto evidence speaks out
NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 23- A key witness who recanted evidence he had earlier given against deputy president-elect William Ruto has revealed how the officials from the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) has been allegedly trying to get him stand by his testimony.
The Witness who is known as OTP 8 in case number 1 said officials from the ICC had made frantic efforts through telephone calls to have him stand with the evidence he had given.
“Despite my having instructed my lawyer that the ICC prosecutor or his officer should contact me through him, they have breached this and in the last 24 hours they have made concerted efforts to physically contact me without him knowing,” witness said in an interview Saturday.
“Since yesterday (Friday) I have received over 20 telephone calls from ICC officials who arrived in the country specifically to contact me and have me recant my sworn affidavits…All the calls I have been receiving from an ICC trial attorney (name withheld) who has been seeking to meet me over my decision to swear affidavits annulling the statements attributed to me,” the witness alleged, revealing that the callers had demanded that he meets them on Friday night in Nairobi.
He claimed that the office of the prosecutor had also written to his lawyer seeking to meet him between March 20 and March 22 concerning the affidavits he swore, but the advocate declined as he had no instructions from his client.
The witness said he stands by sworn affidavits he signed with his lawyer recanting the evidence in which he says was obtained from him through coercion. He claimed some parts of the evidence was falsified by officials at the prosecution office.
“At no time did I claim to have met or visited the homes of any of the accused yet the prosecutor included this claim in the alleged statement. It was also claimed that I attended several meetings where the accused were present such as the alleged meeting at the Molo milk plant which is a place I have never visited,” witness 8 insisted, alleging fears to his life due to the latest development.
The witness is among those who had been lined up to testify against Ruto who is facing crimes against humanity charges in The Hague alongside radio personality Joshua Arap Sang.
Earlier this week, the witness through his lawyer Paul Gicheru, asked the prosecution to withdraw him and his evidence he had given to the court.
“We inform you that our client has withdrawn each and every piece of evidence attributed to him and wishes to have his name removed from the list of the prosecution witnesses you intend to call against the accused persons in the first Kenyan case for the reasons set out in his affidavit,” Gicheru said in papers filed to the court dated February 19, 2013.
Trial Attorney Cynthia Tai has acknowledged receipt of the same affidavits.
In the affidavit, the witness claims that he testified after the ICC promised him and his family a better life. “As a result of this bitterness, I was induced and enticed to be a witness at the ICC on promise that I would be given accommodation for my family, allowances and other monetary inducements for myself.
I was promised that I would be rewarded and settled either in Europe, America or Australia if I testified before the ICC.”
Tai however denied that the Prosecution induced the witness to give evidence. “The Office of the Prosecutor rejects outright your client’s accusations that our office has been involved in inducing witnesses to provide false testimony, and many of the other statements contained therein.”
Tai has also warned the lawyer that his client would be subjected to a criminal proceeding if the allegations made against any court official are untrue.