Ruto due back in Kenya after ICC witness hitch

September 11, 2013 8:17 am


Deputy President William Ruto due to jet back from Hague after prosecution failed to present its first witness/ICC
Deputy President William Ruto due to jet back from Hague after prosecution failed to present its first witness/ICC
NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 11 – Deputy President William Ruto has confirmed that he will leave The Hague on Wednesday night for Nairobi, after the Office of the Prosecutor indicated that their witnesses were not ready.

An aide to Ruto said the Deputy President would get back to his State duties before returning to the Netherlands next week.

Senior Trial Attorney Anton Steynberg on Tuesday sought an adjournment of the trial barely hours after it kicked off, arguing that the first expert witness had not yet made her way to The Hague and was likely to arrive there on Thursday.

Steynberg added that the earliest the witness would be able to take the stand was next Tuesday.

“The first witness is travelling as we speak… we expect her to arrive in The Hague on Thursday and we expect to begin on Tuesday immediately after the long weekend,” he said.

Ruto’s lead counsel Karim Khan has already taken issue with the development accusing the Office of the Prosecutor of being rogue.

Khan added that that the Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, was not prepared for the case and it was unfair for the defence to bear the brunt.

If Ruto had decided to stay in the Netherlands, he would have had to wait for about six days for the trials to pick up where they left off on Tuesday.

Khan added that the court should not grant the Prosecution an opportunity to make second opening remarks unless other parties are equally accorded the same.

“That will be a merry go-round, it will never get off. It is procedurally improper and unfair for the prosecution to get to get the second bite of the cherry,” he said.

The Prosecution was only last week allowed to include two new witnesses to its list raising an outcry from Khan.

Khan had during the status conference on Monday indicated that he would seek an adjournment if the testimonies of the two witnesses have a huge bearing on the case.

He argued that it was unfair for the Judges to allow the Prosecution to ambush the defence by bringing in the witnesses at the last minute.

The Prosecution on Tuesday said that it had lined up 22 witnesses and victims to testify against Ruto and his co accused Joshua arap Sang.

Ruto and Sang are jointly accused of orchestrating the killings that were witnessed in the Rift Valley during the 2007/2008 post election violence.

They are accused of murder, deportation and persecution of communities whose members were perceived as pro- Party of National Unity supporters.


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