AU allowed to join Ruto Hague case on witnesses
NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 12 – The African Union has been allowed to join defence teams of Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang in an appeal seeking to overturn a decision which permitted the prosecution to use prior recorded statements of five witnesses who recanted their evidence.
This was after the Appeals Chamber on Monday granted the African Union Commission’s request to submit observations on amendment to Rule 68.
The AU was granted up to next week to file written submissions as amicus curiae in the decision in which the trial chamber allowed the prosecution to use prior recorded statements of the witnesses who recanted their testimony.
“The Appeals Chamber considered that the observations the African Union wishes to make may be desirable for the proper determination of the first issue on appeal without prejudice to the weight, if any, to be accorded to them in the determination of this appeal,” the chamber stated.
The Appeals Chamber however, rejected requests by Kenya, Uganda and Namibia who through their Attorney Generals had separately lodged similar applications requesting to be allowed to submit views regarding the application of Rule 68 as ‘friends of the court’.
According to the ICC appeal judges, accepting views of the three countries would be a duplication of the request made by the AU.
In their prayers, AU and the three countries shared a common view in which they opposed use of the amended Rule 68 in the case against Deputy President Ruto and Sang.
“It rejects the applications by the Government of the Republic of Kenya, the Government of the Republic of Uganda and the Government of the Republic of Namibia. The chamber found that “the submissions that Kenya, Uganda and Namibia seek to make in relation to the first issue certified on appeal would be duplicative of those that the African Union seeks to make.”
The AU in its application asked the judges to allow it to clarify on the applicability of the amended rule and its possibility to be unfavourable to the person being investigated, prosecuted or convicted.
It also wanted to submit views on the retrospectivity agreement on use of Rule 68.
It held the same position as Kenya, Uganda and Namibia in arguing that Rule 68 could not be applied on Kenyan cases as there was an agreement that it could not be employed retrospectively.
Defence teams have already submitted their appeal to the judges to determine if the decision allowing the ICC prosecution to use prior recorded statements of five recanting witnesses will be reversed or confirmed as ruled by Trial Chamber V (a).
It is the ruling of the Trial Chamber that has stirred political uproar in Kenya which has since then seen the ‘Ruto fixation’ game take centre stage in the country’s political arena.
Politicians who have been attending a series of prayer rallies being held to pray for Ruto and Sang have resulted to a blame game over who procured witnesses to testify against Ruto and Sang.
The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and Jubilee parties have pointed fingers at each other yet the political alignment during the 2008 Post Election Violence and the current have entirely changed.
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has claimed that members of the Party of National Unity (PNU) who were the party rivals of ODM at the time are responsible for fixing Ruto who was at the time a key official of the ODM.
On the other hand, Gatundu South MP and other Jubilee backers (who were mostly members of PNU during the post poll chaos) have blamed Odinga for fixing Ruto.