ICC judges decide on evidence of recanting witnesses
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 5 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday said the prosecution case will remain open until judges of Trial Chamber V (a) rule on an application seeking for the admission of primary evidence of six witnesses who had recanted or withdrawn their evidence.
During a status conference held on Friday, Trial Chamber V (a) Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji said the court will issue a decision before July 16, on if the prosecution will be allowed to use statements of the six witnesses.
“Our hope is to render our decision on the Rule 68 application before the beginning of the summer recess. We are now in the stage where prosecutor’s Rule 68 application has kept open the case for the prosecution until that application is decided,” he said.
Before the three judge bench hearing the case against Deputy President William Ruto and former broadcaster Joshua arap Sang makes a decision, parties in the case are invited to give their views regarding the prosecutor’s application seeking to have initial evidence of the six witnesses admitted under Rule 68 of the Rules of Procedure.
The court is yet to settle on a date when parties to the case against Ruto and Sang can conduct oral hearings of the application.
“On Rule 68 the chamber will be scheduling an oral hearing on the application, date of 17th of June is the date we have in mind for oral hearings on rule 68 application, is that date fine for counsel,” Osuji inquired.
Ruto’s lawyer Karim Khan requested the court to allow the hearing to be set on the week beginning on June 22 due to professional engagements.
Sang’s lawyer was not opposed but said she would discuss with the lead defence counsel (Katwa Kigen) to check on his availability.
Based on the availability of all the parties, the court will set a date for oral hearings of the prosecution’s Rule 68 application which has to be before the summer break.
Five of the witnesses recanted their evidence while the sixth one refused to testify.
In her application on May 21, Bensouda asked the court to use their primary evidence arguing that they were corrupted by individuals acting on behalf of Ruto and Sang.
In the absence of their evidence, the prosecution said, she will have been ‘deprived of a significant portion of the incriminating evidence that it intended to present to Trial Chamber V (A) in support of its charges’.
Meanwhile, victims participating in the case against Ruto and Sang have up to June 12, to apply for authorization for victims counsel to call victims to give their views.-