ICC allows Prosecutor to add two witnesses in Deputy President William Ruto’s case
HAGUE, NETHERLANDS: Deputy President William Ruto has suffered a setback at The Hague after judges rejected his application for leave to appeal the decision allowing the prosecution to add two new witnesses.
In their ruling dated Tuesday this week, the three judge panel said that Ruto’s defence team had failed to identify the ‘appealable issues’ and could not be allowed to go ahead by merely disputing the decision of the Chamber.
“As held by the Appeals Chamber, the
Pre-Trial or Trial Chamber is vested with power to state, or more accurately still, to certify the existence of an appealable issue,” they noted in their ruling.
Judges Chile Eboe-Osuji, Olga Herrera Carbuccia and Robert Fremr were unanimous that the addition of witnesses P-604 and P-613 would not affect the defence’s preparation for the case as stated by Ruto.
They, however, noted that the two witnesses should be among the last to testify.
ICC Posecutor Fatou Bensouda had convinced the judges that she needed two more witnesses to replace the testimony of witness 534 who had withdrawn from the process.
However, Ruto through his defence counsel Karim Khan argued that Bensouda had failed to substantiate that the evidence expected to be given by the two witnesses could indeed replace that of 534.
“The Prosecution has failed to substantiate that the evidence expected to be given by P-604 and P-613 could indeed be considered as a replacement of the evidence that Witness 534 had been expected to give,” Khan noted in his request to appeal the decision.
Ruto is charged alongside Radio Journalist Joushua Arap Sang for orchestrating the violence that claimed more than 1,300 lives after the disputed 2007 polls.
However, the case has been characterized by witness hitches with many withdrawing from the process claiming that ‘they have suffered mental anguish and are also disappointed by the manner in which the Court was carrying out the processes.
This Friday, a status conference is scheduled to decide whether Ruto would be given more time in Kenya or if the trials resume Monday