Ruto, Sang to apply for ‘no case to answer’
DEPUTY President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang will seek to have their charges dismissed even before they present their defence at The Hague.
Their trial resumes at the ICC this morning, with Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda scheduled to close her case against them by March 13.
After the prosecution’s final submissions on March 13, the trial will take a five-month break during which Ruto and Sang will present their “no-case-to-answer” motions.
Members of their defence teams have told the Star that this move is triggered by what they “believe is a weak case” presented by the prosecution.
The Ruto and Sang teams are arguing that the witnesses produced by the prosecution have failed the credibility test and thus their evidence cannot be relied on.
During the cross-examination of prosecution witnesses, the defence teams have branded them as liars and claimed that they have been coached to set the accused up.
If they file such motions, this means that the defence will not argue its case but will let the judges make a decision based on evidence presented by the prosecution and their argument during cross examination.
If the “no-case-to answer” motions are allowed by the judges after arguments by all parties involved, this will see the termination of the case.
If there are no motions of no-case-to-answer, the defence teams will then present their case, where they will be free to call their witnesses to counter the prosecutor’s allegations.
Between today and March 13, Bensouda will call three witnesses and make the prosecution’s closing submissions.
A total of 27 witnesses, some of whom have been compelled and declared hostile, have already testified in the trial, which kicked off on September 10, 2013.
Ruto and Sang are accused of having masterminded the killing and eviction of pro-PNU supporters from the Rift Valley after the 2007 elections.
Bensouda is also under pressure to terminate the case after she withdrew that of President Uhuru Kenyatta last year for lack of evidence.
About 200 internally displaced persons will travel to the ICC next month to petition Bensouda to drop the case against Ruto and Sang.
National IDP chairman Peter Kariuki Githinji said that the travel plans were already underway and they hope to leave early next month.
“We are already finalising the travel arrangements and we hope to present our petition to the prosecutor. We have already drafted a letter that we will present to her. We will also camp outside the court till we are given an opportunity to present our petition. We still believe that the wrong people are the ones who are being charged before the court,” he said.
Kariuki was speaking in Rumuti, where he decried the presence of brokers and false witnesses who were being discovered by the ICC.
“The truthfulness of the witnesses is in question. With the emerging cases of witnesses retracting their statements we are worried that the court is not transparent and genuine,” he added.
Kariuki cited the fact that the IDPs supported the President and his deputy, saying that the two had remained true to their promise of resettling them.
“Even though we have some cases of IDPs who are unsettled, the government has made efforts to resettle us and we don’t feel lost,” he added.