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2 witnesses each for Ruto, Kosgey and Sang

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 10 – The first three suspects to appear before the International Criminal Court next month for confirmation of charges hearings will each be allowed to call two witnesses.

The decision was arrived at after Eldoret North MP William Ruto, Henry Kosgey and Joshua arap Sang asked to be allowed a total of 48 witnesses.

Speaking during the opening of an International Criminal Court (ICC) training programme in Nairobi, ICC spokesperson and Head of the Public Affairs Unit Fadi El Abdallah explained that the decision that will be made at the September hearings will be whether the cases should go to trial or not.

“For a confirmation of charges hearings with this limited scope which is only to examine if the evidence of the Prosecutor is enough to go to trial or not, the judges said that the number of witnesses was excessive. It goes beyond the scope of hearings,” he stated.

He further said that the prosecution would be required to support each of the charges with sufficient evidence showing that the suspects committed crimes against humanity.

“Is there a need to go on trial or not? That is the purpose of what will happen in September. That is very important to keep in mind that the decision of the (pre-trial) Chamber will not be a decision on the innocence or guilt of the person,” he expounded.

Mr Ruto, Kosgey and Sang are separately accused with Uhuru Kenyatta, Francis Muthaura and Maj Gen (Rtd) Mohammed Hussein Ali of allegedly planning or financing the 2008 post-election violence.  The case against Mr Muthaura, Maj Gen (Rtd) Ali and Mr Kenyatta is set for September 21.

Last week, ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo revealed his Documents Containing Charges (DCC) against Mr Ruto, Mr Sang and Mr Kosgey.  He will release more evidence against Mr Kenyatta, Mr Muthaura and Major General (Rtd) Ali before their appearance for the confirmation of charges hearings on September 21.

He alleges that the three attended nine preparatory meetings and events to plan on how to expel people from their communities in Rift Valley.

According to the DCC, Mr Ruto and Mr Kosgey were in charge of a network which he said had a sort of military structure that had three commanders or generals who reported to either of them.

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They were further accused of providing financial and material support to the direct perpetrators and also gave them instructions to carry out the attacks.

He alleges that Mr Sang used his radio programme to give directions and also gather updates on the attacks by using hate speech and other names to refer to the people the perpetrators should have attacked.

Some 1,500 people were killed and more than half a million others forcibly displaced during the crisis, which rocked various parts of the country, including Rift Valley, the worst hit by the crisis.

Efforts to establish a local tribunal to deal with perpetrators have hit a dead end after Parliament rejected three Bills seeking to try the perpetrators locally.

Despite that, the government has been keen to frustrate the ICC process after moving to challenge the principle of admissibility.


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