THE HAGUE, Sep 21 – Head of Civil Service Francis Muthuara dramatically kicked off his defense at the International Criminal Courts (ICC) as he took the stand to make his opening statement when confirmation of charges hearings kicked off on Wednesday.,
Muthaura told the Court that the charges came as a surprise to him.
“I consider myself as a firefighter who was mistaken as an arsonist by a policeman who came to the scene too late,” he said.
He began the 21-minute statement to the court by recounting how his mother rescued him and his sibling from a burning hut when they were attacked during the struggle for independence. He was eight-years-old then.
“I am telling you this so that you know where I am coming from; I was once a victim of violence” he said.
Muthaura then went to highlight his remarkable professional career which saw him serve as Kenya’s top diplomat at the European Union headquarters in Brussels and was later picked by President Daniel arap Moi to oversee the rebirth of the East African Community.
“I learnt the importance of co-operation from the EU (stint). I know how people suffered in former Yugoslavia,” he asserted.
Muthaura told the court: “What I have heard from the Prosecutor are packaged lies… I came to this court with respect and humility. I count on you to separate facts from lies and ensure justice is done.”
He denied ever attending any meeting whose aim was to plan and coordinate retaliatory attacks as has been alleged by the prosecution.
”I am a professional, a person of integrity and for me to be dragged here after information gathered from the bush, is sad,” he pleaded.
Muthaura also denied that meetings were held at State House to plan retaliatory attacks.
He said: “Our State House is very stately. How can you imagine criminal gangs like the Mungiki just hang around?”
Muthaura’s lawyer Karim Kahn asked the Pr-Trial Chamber Judges not to allow the court to be reduced to cheap theatrics.
“The Prosecutor should ensure justice for all. A prosecutor should not just aim for a result, but to provide evidence.”
Ocampo will on Thursday table his evidence to show that Muthaura paid significant amounts to Mungiki in November 2007, despite the fact that the alleged attacks were retaliatory and only came in January and February 2008.
On his part, Muthaura will seek to dispel allegations that he has command over the police force and that he stopped them from interfering with the Mungiki attacks in early 2008.