Ruto Blow As ICC Rejects State Plea

DEPUTY President William Ruto has suffered a setback at The Hague after Judges rejected a request by the Kenyan government to make submissions in a key application in his ongoing trial.

Attorney General Githu Muigai had wanted to make observations following a request by Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to use prior recorded statements of hostile witnesses. “The Chamber finds it unnecessary to receive responses from the Kenyan government before ruling on the request,” the three-judge bench ruled. Bensouda wants to use statements collected and recorded outside the courtroom.

This is likely to be a game changer because Bensouda described the testimony of the recalcitrant witnesses as “significant”. “The central issue for determination in this request is the admissibility of records of prior interviews of missing and recanting witnesses who succumbed to improper influences,” Bensouda said in her application.

She urged the chamber to admit the records into evidence as substantive proof of their contents. “Not to do so would deny the chamber the ability to assess the whole of the evidence. It would also reward an attempt to obstruct justice,” Bensouda said. Muigai wanted to make observations on Rule 68, which deals with prior recorded evidence. The rule was amended in 2013 by the Assembly of State Parties following a push by the African Union.

“During negotiations on the amendment of Rule 68, Kenya made known its concerns over the implication of the amendment of Rule 68 over the ongoing cases before the ICC,” Muigai said.

However, the judges in their determination said the government’s observations are “neither necessary nor appropriate for the chamber’s judicial determination”.

Bensouda’s case against Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang is coming to a close. The two defendants would then be allowed to file a no-case-to answer motion to end the trial without going through the lengthy process without presenting their own witnesses.

Source : The Star