Ruto seeks more time to appeal on forcing witnesses to testify

DEPUTY President William Ruto has asked that he be given more time to decide whether he will appeal a decision forcing eight witnesses to testify.

Yesterday, Ruto told Trial Chamber V(a) that he needs more time for his team to study the dissenting opinion by one of the judges, which is yet to be published.

Last week, the judges ordered that eight witnesses against Ruto and his co-accused Joshua Sang testify from Kenya through video-link.

The judges also requested the Kenyan government to assist in ensuring that the witnesses appear before the court and offer their security.

Judge Herrera Carbuccia however disagreed with his colleagues on the decision by prosecutor Fatou Bensouda that the eight be summoned.

Bensouda had requested that the eight – Witness 15, Witness 16, Witness 336, Witness 397, Witness 516, Witness 524, Witness 495, and Witness 323 – be forced to testify.

“The defence respectfully requests an extension of the time limit for leave to appeal the decision in order that the time limit shall start running on notification of judge Herrera Carbuccia’s dissenting opinion. The dissent will likely inform the defence’s decision on leave to appeal including the formulation of the issue(s) on which to seek leave,” Ruto’s lawyer Karim Khan told the court.

Regulation 35(2) permits the chamber to “extend any time limit if good cause is shown.”

Khan said good cause exists for the requested extension because the decision engages complex, novel and not uncontroversial legal issues.

According to the prosecution, those eight witnesses are now no longer cooperating or have informed the prosecution that they are no longer willing to testify.

The Chamber decided, by majority, to grant the request to compel the attendance of the witnesses adding that their decision was consistent with international laws and Kenyan laws.

In their ruling, the judges said that Kenya should communicate to the concerned witnesses the Chamber’s requirement of their attendance.

During a Status Conference at The Haguein February, Ruto and Sang said the court can issue summons but there is no law that can compel the witnesses to testify.

Kenya, through Attorney General Githu Muigai, also opposed the issuance of summons to the seven witnesses. He said the process is unnecessary.


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