Tell the judges, Bensouda tells “coached” witnesses

September 14, 2013 1:37 pm
The Prosecutor has denied claims of coaching witnesses. Photo/ FILE
The Prosecutor has denied claims of coaching witnesses. Photo/ FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 14 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) is now inviting anyone who says they were bribed and coached to testify against President Uhuru Kenyatta, his Deputy William Ruto and former radio personality Joshua arap Sang to write to the judges and inform them.

This comes after video recordings emerged with witnesses alleging how they were bribed and coached by prosecution officials to give false testimonies against the three.

The OTP said that any such witness should stop rushing to the media to air these grievances and instead write to the ICC Judges.

“Any witnesses who have complaints regarding their treatment by the Prosecution should not spread untested accounts in the media, but bring them before the judges of the ICC, who will decide on the veracity or otherwise of their versions,” read a brief statement from the OTP.

And despite the witnesses’ detailed accounts of how they were taught and asked to cram their accounts, the OTP maintained that these claims were unfounded and that all the witnesses who agreed to testify did so on their own accord.

On Wednesday Capital FM News published a story in which witnesses revealed some of the words they were asked not to use while being cross examined so as to convince the Judges.

The witnesses also said that the accounts they gave to the Waki Commission were doctored so as to ‘fix’ the three ICC indictees. They further revealed how each witness gave their account in a group so as to ensure that all the witness statements were corroborated.

“I was also given details about oaths and told by the OTP to say that dogs were slaughtered at the Molo Milk Plant. But I don’t even know where this milk plant is,” claimed one of the witnesses.

There have also been reports about how the witnesses have been mistreated by some of the OTP staff while in The Netherlands, claims that the OTP has denied.

The ICC cases have been hit by witness withdrawals and it was just Wednesday when the trial against Ruto and Sang was adjourned for want of witnesses, barely a day after starting.

While asking for the adjournment on Wednesday, the OTP said that its first witness had not yet arrived in the Dutch city.

“We expect her to arrive in The Hague on Thursday and we expect to begin immediately after the long weekend on Tuesday,” said Senior Trial Attorney Anton Steynberg.


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