ICC RULING THAT COULD MAKE OR BREAK RUTO AND SANG’S CASE
Trial Chamber V(b) will rule on whether the prosecution should be allowed to adduce new evidence to prove that key witnesses have been bribed or intimidated to drop their evidence against Ruto and Sang.
The Chamber will make the ruling just before starting to hear evidence of one of the witnesses, which will be relayed, from Nairobi via video link to the court in The Hague. This will be the first time the court will be receiving such evidence from witness number 604.
The Office of the Prosecutor has applied to be allowed to use the new evidence against any witnesses who will fail to testify in the courtroom or those who openly disown their testimonies on the 2007/2008 post-election violence (PEV).
Prosecuting counsel Anton Steynberg made the application on Tuesday before Trial Chamber V(a) adjourned the case to today.
The prosecution has made the application as a strategy to ensure they don’t lose the evidence initially recorded by witnesses implicating Ruto and Sang in the PEV.
But the Trial Chamber directed the Kenya Government to compel the witnesses to testify either from Nairobi or The Hague. The prosecution maintains they were bribed to withdraw their statements and intends to use fresh evidence to prove it.
The evidence includes photographs and audio records of some witnesses inducing others to accept bribes to disown their statements. The prosecution wants the judges to consider the evidence when making their final determination of the case.
However, the defence team argues that the prosecution is trying to adopt an exit strategy to avoid blame when the court clears Ruto and Sang.
“This is an endgame, creating a narrative now to excuse their own failing,” said Ruto’s lawyer Karim Khan.
The defence says they don’t mind the prosecution testing the credibility of their own witnesses but feared that asking the court to adopt the original evidence would be prejudicial to their clients.