Ruto’s ICC witnesses to give evidence from Nairobi

NINE reluctant witnesses compelled to testify against Deputy President William Ruto by the ICC will take the stand in Nairobi, the Star has established, even as he sits in court at The Hague.

The witnesses will testify from a secret location, mostly likely the highly secure United Nations Office, via video link. Ruto and former broadcaster Joshua arap Sang will fly out to The Hague on Sunday.

Multiple sources said yesterday that the ICC has finalized logistical issues to ensure flawless communications when the trials resume from Monday next week.

“The logistical issues have already been settled,” the lawyer for the victims in the case, Wilfred Nderitu, confirmed. ICC Judges ruled in April that the Government of Kenya is required to “make appropriate arrangements for the security of the witnesses until they appear and complete their testimonies”.

The appearance of the witnesses now means that the government has finally thrown in the towel and successfully summoned the witnesses, whom Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda insists have “insider accounts” of Ruto’s role in the post-election bloodletting of 2007-08.

Ruto and Sang are both facing three charges of crimes against humanity. The charges are murder, deportation or forcible transfer of populations, and persecution.

However, sources familiar with the Kenyan cases indicated that Bensouda is likely to drop some of the nine witnesses for allegedly “adding no probative value”.

“We are likely to see a situation where only a section of the nine witnesses testify. The prosecution now says some of the witnesses will add no probative value to their case,” the source said.

Some legal experts have warned that forcing witnesses to testify could work against the prosecution if the witnesses give evidence that exonerates the defendants.

Bensouda has insisted that the recalcitrant witnesses are crucial in proving her charges, saying, for example, that Witness P0015 has evidence that Ruto organised and bankrolled the deadly violence.

“According to the witness, Ruto was present and participated in 11 meetings to prepare for the attacks, during which the participants discussed the procurement of firearms, the selection of field commanders and the arrangement of finances and logistics. P0015 also described the network that Mr Ruto allegedly utilised to commit the crimes,” Bensouda claims.

She also said a number of witnesses described Sang’s radio programmes on Kass FM in which, they said, he incited his audience to violence Ruto will be in court for five days. Yesterday, Sang’s legal team was at the Netherlands Embassy in Nairobi to get their visas ready for the trip.

The evidence section in the case against the two will end before October 7, to pave way for the trial of President Uhuru Kenyatta that kicks off on the same day. Trial Chamber judges had ruled last year that the trials of Uhuru and Ruto would alternate to allow them to govern the country uninterruptedly.


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