, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 20 – There was drama outside the International Criminal Court (ICC) building at The Hague on Friday morning, when police officers tried to eject journalists and Kenyan Members of Parliament from the court’s precincts.
The scribes and legislators have been pitching camp outside the building waiting for a word from Deputy President William Ruto and his co-accused Joshua arap Sang on the proceedings, after the judges barred the public from the testimony of the first witness.
The Dutch law enforcers had tried to kick out the crowd arguing that no one was allowed to gather outside the ICC but the journalists and MPs refused to budge.
Only those inside the four-walled courtroom know exactly what transpired when the first witness took back to the stand on Thursday.
Even those sitting inside the public gallery inside the court’s premises were left in the dark.
“I am sure the public will understand because efforts are being made by some people to reveal the identity of the witnesses with obvious intent of discouraging the witness to testify. The public will surely understand that measures need to be taken,” said Trial Chamber V (a) Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji on Thursday.
Judge Eboe-Osuji’s decision did not go down well with the legislators on Thursday and they even wanted to hold demonstrations before being advised against it.
And on Friday morning, Ruto’s lead counsel Karim Khan told the court that Ruto’s mother wanted to follow the trial of her son and it was unfair for the court to hold the sessions in secret.
Sang’s lawyer Katwa Kigen also said that the former journalist’s family wanted to watch what was happening.
“I am unable to describe the pain that he is going through in the manner of the closed proceedings that have the effect of suggesting that he has absolutely no right in terms of having his situation understood to people who matter to him,” argued Kigen.
The ICC Outreach team had set up large screens in various major towns of Kenya to enable members of the public follow the proceedings.
According to ICC outreach coordinator Maria Kamara the large screens would be erected in various public places, apart from Eldoret because residents did not want them there.
Kamara said that negotiations with Eldoret residents were still ongoing with regard to establishing the screens but that screens had been set up in Naivasha, Nakuru, Kisumu and others.