During the opening statements, Senior Trial Lawyer Anton Steynberg said the witnesses and victims will give evidence to demonstrate that the two planned and executed attacks that left 200 people dead, between 200,000 and 400,000 others displaced and property worth millions of shillings destroyed.
“The prosecution will present up to 22 victims and witnesses who will describe the attacks on each of these locations. They will describe how Kalenjin youths armed with traditional weapons descended upon one location off to another; how they saw large numbers of these youth ferried into certain locations by lorries and focused on areas known to be predominantly occupied by PNU supporters,” he asserted.
Steynberg recalled to the court the Kiambaa incident in which between 17 and 35 people were burned alive as they sought refuge at the Assemblies of God Church in the outskirts of Eldoret.
Using a photo to demonstrate the aftermath of the attack, he said the prosecution will call its first expert witness No.536 to shed more light on the Kiambaa attack.
Steynberg further told Trial Chamber V that the prosecution will call political witnesses No.326 and No.323 to testify and prove that Ruto and Sang are criminally responsible for the attacks in Rift Valley.
She said Ruto and Sang attended several preparatory meetings that started in mid 2006 with the first one being at Ruto’s Sugoi home.
He showed the court a video depicting Ruto being anointed as leader of Kalenjin in 2006.
In the video Ruto was dressed in Kalenjin elders’ attire.
Steynberg also aired a second video clip which he alleged showed Ruto complaining to the crowd in his native language that Kikuyus were occupying their land and told them that without vigilance, the elections would be rigged.
“He declared directly or through use of parables that non-Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) supporters should be evicted from the Rift Valley, saying for instance that they were weeds which needed to be removed. Witnesses will also testify how Ruto consistently referred to Kikuyus using derogatory terms like madoadoa (spots of stains) that these spots should be removed,” he said.
The prosecution which described Ruto as a powerful and influential political leader in Rift Valley alleged that Ruto was the leader of the network that was established 18 months prior to the 2007 General Election to attack perceived former President Mwai Kibaki’s Party of National Unity (PNU) supporters living in Rift Valley at the time.
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in her opening remarks said Ruto and Sang were criminally responsible and that the prosecution will table evidence to show how the two led members of their network to commit the crimes in the Rift Valley.
“In a series of private and public messages Ruto assembled this network using to his advantage existing Kalenjin community structures and customs. He assigned responsibilities, he raised finance he procured weapons and hosted meetings in furtherance of the criminal aims of the network,” she explained.