NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 18 – Another International Criminal Court (ICC) witness who had testified against Deputy President-elect William Ruto has withdrawn from the prosecution list.
The witness, through his lawyer Paul Gicheru, asked the prosecution to withdraw him and his evidence to the court.
“We inform you that our client has withdrawn each and every piece of evidence attributed to him and wishes to have his name removed from the list of the prosecution witnesses you intend to call against the accused persons in the first Kenyan case for the reasons set out in his affidavit,” Gicheru said in papers filed to the court dated February 19, 2013.
Gicheru asked the court to also acknowledge confirmation of the affidavit and in a letter dated February 22, 2013. Trial Attorney Cynthia Tai acknowledged receipt of the same.
In the affidavit, the witness through his lawyer said; “I would like to solemnly and swear that all the allegations that are attributed to me in the said interviews and statements are not true. To the best of my knowledge the 2007/2008 violence was spontaneous and was not planned or financed by anybody in Rift Valley including Henry Kosgey, Joshua arap Sang and William Ruto.”
The witness also contradicted his earlier evidence clarifying that he had never visited any of Ruto’s homes.
The witness further said the rivalry between the Party of National Unity (PNU) and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) in 2007 is what compelled him to testify what was not true.
“Any interviews and statements that I made were induced by bitterness because of the rivalry between my political party PNU and ODM,” he asserted.
In the affidavit, the witness claims that the ICC promised him and his family a better life. “As a result of this bitterness, I was induced and enticed to be a witness at the ICC on promise that I would be given accommodation for my family, allowances and other monetary inducements for myself. I was promised that I would be rewarded and settled either in Europe, America or Australia if I testified before the ICC.”
Tai however denied that the Prosecution induced the witness to give evidence’ “the Office of the Prosecutor rejects outright your client’s accusations that our office has been involved in inducing witnesses to provide false testimony, and many of the other statements contained therein.”
Tai also warned the lawyer that his client would be subjected to a criminal proceeding if the allegations made against any court official are untrue.
He explained that the prosecution at the time under the leadership of Luis Moreno Ocampo asked witnesses to harmonise their evidence, “so that the office of the prosecutor could secure a confirmation of the charges.”
The witness said it was after soul searching that he decided to tell the truth.
The prosecution has been grappling with its cases after withdrawal of 13 witnesses in the two Kenyans cases which led to the dropping of charges against former head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura.
In Muthaura’s case, the court’s witness number four upon whose evidence the Pre Trial chamber relied to confirm the charges, has already withdrawn. The Prosecution applied and the Trial Chamber agreed to drop the charges against Muthaura.
President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta’s lawyers also want charges against their client dropped over withdrawal of some evidence and witnesses.