Ruto & Sang ICC trial could close early

08 October 2014 by Benjamin Duerr, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC) are struggling to maintain their case against Kenyan vice president William Ruto and his co-accused, radio broadcaster Joshua Sang. As the evidence continues to dribble away, the defence plans to ask for an acquittal halfway through the trial. Both Ruto and Sang are accused of crimes against humanity committed during the post-election violence in Kenya in 2007 and 2008.

While several witnesses with insider information were compelled to appear at the ICC over the last four weeks in order to strengthen the prosecutor’s case, they have actually contributed to its decay. Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda intended to bring in testimonies of individuals believed to have knowledge of Ruto’s alleged role in organizing the post-election violence. During the investigations, these witnesses gave details of meetings where attacks were supposedly planned. But last year, each of them refused to testify or proved out of reach for the prosecutors.

Bensouda, in turn, requested Kenyan authorities assist her in accessing the witnesses and their testimonies. Initial efforts to compel the witnesses to give evidence, however, required cooperation by the Kenyan government. In response, Nairobi argued that the witnesses could only appear voluntarily and the government was therefore under no obligation to help the ICC. As a last resort, the prosecutors requested a summons from the trial chamber to force nine individuals to appear.

“It is all made up”

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