, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 10 – Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo has now challenged suspended Higher Education Minister William Ruto to forward evidence on manipulation of post-election violence witnesses to relevant authorities.
Mr Kilonzo on Wednesday asked Mr Ruto to either appear before Lady Justice Kalpana Rawal, who was appointed to take statements from the witnesses, or the Cabinet committee on International Criminal Court matters.
He said statements without credible evidence could easily amount to witness intimidation.
“Both the Rome Statute and the International Crimes Act have express provisions on anyone attempting to manipulate, bribe or intimidate witnesses. It is a crime,” he said on the sidelines of a consultative forum with political parties.
“If he (Mr Ruto) has evidence of any witnesses being manipulated or bribed and does not bring it forth he is undermining the process of investigation.”
The Justice Minister said Mr Ruto should avoid sideshows and public statements arguing that questions on the credibility of witnesses could also be handled by The Hague court.
“Mr Ruto’s statements could also be read on the reverse side. I hope he is not trying to intimidate any witness who has evidence on the violence.”
Mr Ruto arrived from The Hague on Monday and claimed that at least six witnesses had been identified, coached, paid a lot of money and given refuge abroad by human rights institutions to incriminate him over the 2008 violence.
On Tuesday, he singled out Hassan Omar Hassan of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) of doctoring evidence being used against him over the violence.
He accused Mr Omar of allegedly paying and coaching the witnesses who have been given refuge out of Kenya, and are expected to testify before the International Criminal Court.
The suspended Minister said he had evidence to show that all the witnesses lined up to testify at the ICC were paid and promised better lives so that they could lie to the investigators.
But Mr Kilonzo challenged him: “If you have evidence you have an obligation to abide by the law. Therefore he needs to make the evidence available.”
“I have praised him for going to The Hague but on this one he is failing.”
Mr Kilonzo also warned possible “coached” witnesses that such action would backfire on them.
“If indeed you think you can get away with being bribed to go and give false testimony you will be prosecuted,” he said.
The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC has indicated that it will present two main cases to the ICC judges by the end of the year.