NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 28 – Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta’s defence team spent the better part of Wednesday afternoon persuading the International Criminal Court (ICC) to discard evidence presented by the prosecution in allegations that he spearheaded the 2008 post election violence.,
Lawyer Gilian Kay Higgins told the court that for lack of better words, the evidence ‘purportedly’ gathered by ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo contains “zero probative value.”
“What does it amount to, this evidence from the prosecution which is largely sourced from anonymous witnesses whose credibility is totally questionable and we have given evidence to that effect?” Higgins wondered in court, often quoting evidence the prosecution is relying on in its quest to have the Finance Minister sent to a full trial.
She said two of the witnesses interviewed by Ocampo and whose names have not been disclosed to the defence are liars who attempted to extort money from the Deputy Prime Minister and were even interviewed by his lawyers to defend him before they joined the prosecutions’ bandwagon.
“Both [the witnesses] are named as Mungiki suspects. These are the same people who had given evidence to the defence team and they exonerated Mr Kenyatta from any role with the Mungiki, how then did they testify later that he is a Mungiki who controlled their activities in the violence?” Uhuru’s lawyer posed and urged Judges Ekaterina Trandafilova, Hans-Peter Kaul and Cuno Tarfusser to trash Ocampo’s evidence in totality.
“The case against Uhuru Kenyatta is unfounded and has no sufficient evidence at all. The evidence given by the prosecutor has zero property value. Completely zero, it cannot be substantiated. It cannot be relied upon,” she said.
In her submissions during Wednesday afternoon’s proceedings, lawyer Higgins likened the case brought up against her client to a wide hoax.
“We submit that it is the widest prank of the prosecution cases against Uhuru. No property value at all,” she said, citing an excerpt of one witness’ evidence who has testified that Uhuru was involved in distributing money to Mungiki gangs that are blamed for the deadly violence that rocked Kenya soon after the 2007 general elections, killing some 1,333 people. Half a million others were displaced during the chaos which Ocampo accuses Kenyatta and five others of having organised.
Kenyatta is appearing as a suspect alongside Head of Civil Service Amb Francis Muthaura and former Police Commissioner Mohammed Hussein Ali in the second case brought up by the ICC Prosecutor who has named them as possible masterminds and financiers of the deadly violence that broke out after an election dispute between President Mwai Kibaki and his then bitter political rival Raila Odinga.
Ocampo has put a case against the three suspects alongside former ministers Henry Kosgey, William Ruto and Radio Presenter Joshua arap Sang as possible planners who should be held individually responsible for destabilising Kenya.
Kenyatta is particularly accused of being the principal contact with the Mungiki criminal gang, which Ocampo says was assembled and armed at State House, Nairobi before being dispatched to Naivasha and Nakuru to commit violence.
Some of the witnesses Ocampo is relying on have also testified that it is Kenyatta who contributed and distributed money to the criminal gang.
“This witness who talks of money having been distributed to the Mungiki testifies that he did not see anyone providing money or guns to anyone. So how can Uhuru have provided money. How was he involved?” she posed. “So where does the relationship of Uhuru and Mungiki and or that he liaised with the Mungiki comes from?”
One witness, she said, alleges that he heard that Kenyatta had purchased pangas for the Mungikis in Nairobi.
“This again can only be referred to as unsubstantiated rumours. The question has to be, what is the property value of this evidence. It has no dates. It is not evidence.”
Kenyatta plans to take to the witness box to give his own testimony.