, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 5 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has received a boost to the case she has against Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang after getting the green light to add two new witnesses to her list.
A statement from the court indicated that Trial Chamber V(a) had given Bensouda the go ahead to amend her list of witnesses against the two Kenyans, whose trial starts next Tuesday.
Bensouda had suffered a blow last month when two other witnesses withdrew themselves from the case.
“Trial Chamber V(a) is granting the Prosecutor’s request to add two witnesses to its list of witnesses.”
On Wednesday the ICC Head of Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation Division, Office of the Prosecutor Phakiso Mochochoko declined to give the exact number of individuals who had dropped out.
He instead said that he did not want to be drawn into such a debate because evidence against Ruto, Sang and President Uhuru Kenyatta was still water tight.
“What importance is that information to you? It is not going to help you determine whether or not we are going to win that case. You don’t know who these witnesses are and you don’t know their credibility,” he said.
On August 1 and August 16, two witnesses separately dropped out of the case against Ruto and Sang saying that they had suffered mental anguish and were also disappointed by the manner in which the Court was carrying out the process.
“My participation in the process has caused my family immense mental and emotional suffering that has resulted in my father getting sick and harbouring serious thoughts of suicide,” said one of the witnesses.
“I am shocked to learn through the media that while OTP has lined me as a witness in this case, the OTP (office of the prosecutor) has allowed third parties to participate in the proceedings through open letter and documents authored by individuals who were not victims, witnesses or accused persons in the case,” said another witness.
Members of the National Assembly also spent the whole ’emergency’ session on Thursday castigating the ICC for picking on African countries and using it to remove political leaders who were deemed as less favourable.
The legislators put up a spirited fight against the court eventually voting to have Kenya withdraw its membership from the Rome Statute.
A Bill will now be introduced in Parliament to formalise the withdrawal in 30 days.
Kenya has also been pushing other African countries to pull out of the ICC and there have claims that at least 30 African countries are planning to follow suit.