Free at last – Ruto and Sang off the ICC hook

April 5, 2016 5:56 pm
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In concurring opinions, Judges Robert Fremr and Chile Eboe-Osuji say the prosecutor’s evidence furthermore failed to prove existence of a network alleged to have committed crimes in the Rift Valley/DPPS
In concurring opinions, Judges Robert Fremr and Chile Eboe-Osuji say the prosecutor’s evidence furthermore failed to prove existence of a network alleged to have committed crimes in the Rift Valley/DPPS

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 5 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday terminated the case against Deputy President William Ruto and former broadcaster Joshua arap Sang.

Trial Chamber V (A) of the ICC decided, by majority – with Judge Olga Herrera Carbuccia dissenting – that the case against DP Ruto and Sang be terminated.

Overview
  • Judge Fremr found that "the prosecution did not present sufficient evidence on which a reasonable Trial Chamber could convict the accused. Accordingly, he considered that there is no reason to call the defence to bring their case or to prolong the proceedings any further."
  • Judge Olga Herrera-Carbuccia in her dissenting opinion argued that the charges against Ruto and Sang should not be vacated "as such outcome departs from the legal standard established in the Trial Chamber's Decision of 3 June 2014."

“On the basis of the evidence and arguments submitted to the Chamber, Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji and Judge Robert Fremr, as the majority, agreed that the charges are to be vacated and the accused are to be discharged. They provided separate reasons for this decision,” a statement from the ICC indicated.

The concurring judges found that the prosecution’s evidence was insufficient to sustain the trial – and a conviction for that matter.

Judge Fremr found that “the prosecution did not present sufficient evidence on which a reasonable Trial Chamber could convict the accused. Accordingly, he considered that there is no reason to call the defence to bring their case or to prolong the proceedings any further.”

Judge Olga Herrera-Carbuccia in her dissenting opinion argued that the charges against Ruto and Sang should not be vacated “as such outcome departs from the legal standard established in the Trial Chamber’s Decision of 3 June 2014.”

“Judge Herrera Carbuccia considered that the Prosecution case had not ‘broken down’ and she concluded that there is sufficient evidence upon which, if accepted, a reasonable Trial Chamber could convict the accused.”

In her dissenting opinion she also paid attention to allegations made by the prosecution that witnesses were interfered with.

The decision is however appealable and the prosecution also has the leeway to press new charges should it wish so; “according to the majority, this decision does not preclude new prosecution in the future either at the ICC or in a national jurisdiction. This decision may be subject to appeal.”

Tuesday’s landmark ruling followed an application in which Ruto and Sang’s defence teams had argued that the prosecutor’s evidence did not warrant the accused to be put on their defence and asked for an acquittal in separate applications.

During the oral submissions of the motion of no-case-to-answer, the prosecution had been tasked to explain the existence of a network which it had alleged was established to plan, coordinate and execute attacks in the Rift Valley.

It alleged that Ruto and Sang were members of the alleged network which was entirely linked to the killings in the Rift valley such that without its existence, then the two could not have committed the crimes.

READ: ICC judges: Were Ruto and Sang part of a network?

The trial against Ruto and Sang started in September 2013.

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