Raila to record statement over ICC witnesses

Raila OdingaThe DPP yesterday ordered police to investigate Cord leader Raila Odinga and three other politicians over allegations of procuring false ICC witnesses to ‘fix’ DP William Ruto.

DPP Keriako Tobiko wants Raila, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua (former Justice minister) and Kisumu Senator Anyang’ Nyongo to be questioned.

In a letter to Police IG Joseph Boinnet, the Tobiko said that “obstruction of justice and fabrication of evidence are grave offences” under the International Crimes Act.

“I do hereby direct that you cause a thorough and speedy investigation to be conducted into this grave matter and have all the persons mentioned (including Moses Kuria) interrogated and record statements over the said allegations,” Tobiko said.

Last weekend, Kuria claimed that he, Raila, Karua and Nyongo had procured false witnesses to testify against Ruto at the ICC.

Ruto is charged with crimes against humanity as an indirect co-perpetrator in connection with the 2007-08 post-election violence.

Kuria repeated the claims on Tuesday and released a petition allegedly signed by Nyongo on behalf of ODM to the UN Security Council.

The document dated March 11, 2011, purportedly asked the Security Council not to defer the ICC cases against Ruto and the other fives suspects, who then included President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Raila, Nyongo and Karua have all dismissed the claims by Kuria as a figment of the MP’s imagination.

Raila has called for the immediate arrest of Kuria, while Karua yesterday sued the Gatundu South MP for defamation and also said Ruto is behind the claims. She seeks general damages.

Kuria said he and Karua, Justice minister at the time, were among PNU operatives who obtained witnesses for the Justice Kriegler Commission, which later turned them over to the ICC prosecution.

“I will say Martha was a de facto leader when prosecuting our case before Kriegler, as [she was] then Justice Minister. ICC recycled witnesses and used them as a criminal case. If you compare, the names of the witnesses at the ICC and those of Kriegler are the same. We are not saying we influenced the witnesses,” Kuria said.

Karua earlier had said she would also go for “the owner of the barking dog” and challenged Ruto to table evidence against her.

Nyongo has challenged Kuria to appear before the ICC judges at The Hague and tell the court what he knows about the issue of witnesses.

Over the years, Ruto’s allies have accused the ODM leadership, headed by Raila, of framing the URP leader at the ICC.

They have also accused PNU of procuring witnesses against Ruto, an allegation repeated by the DP’s lawyers at the ICC.

The ICC recently admitted as evidence against Ruto the statements of five prosecution witnesses who later recanted or withdrew.

Ruto is challenging the decision, saying it violates an understanding that an amended rule on ICC evidence excludes use of such prior statements in Kenyan cases. Ruto’s lawyers argue the witnesses are unreliable and some have admitted their statements were false. Using those statements is unfair because the witnesses cannot be cross-examined, they say.

– the-star.co.ke

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