NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 12 – Deputy President William Ruto jetted back into the country on Thursday morning following the adjournment of his trial at The Hague.
Ruto landed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 6.30am accompanied by his wife Rachel and was received by a high-level contingent of government officials.
Although the Deputy President declined to talk to the press, a statement from his office explained that he was back for the next three days to discharge his duties.
“Mr Ruto who was accompanied by his wife Rachel will continue with his State duties before returning to the Netherlands next week,” the statement read.
In his trademark cap that bears the colours of the national flag, Ruto smiled and shook hands with those lined up to meet him.
“Thank you for coming,” he could be heard saying to the welcoming committee that included Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi, Transport Principal Secretary Nduva Muli and various Senators.
Ruto returned to the country following a delay in the arrival of the first witness who will testify for the prosecution in the case against him and Journalist Joshua arap Sang at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The witness was to arrive at The Hague on Thursday forcing the Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji to adjourn the trial until next week Tuesday as Monday will be a public holiday in the Netherlands.
“It is a shame really because we were hoping to proceed today, but that is the reality we have,” he regretted.
Ruto is expected to fly back out on Monday morning in order to be present for the hearing come Tuesday morning.
His co-accused Sang, who is receiving legal aid from the ICC, remained in the Dutch-speaking country after making a passionate plea for his acquittal in his opening statement on Wednesday.
During their opening statements, both Sang and Ruto’s defence counsels cast aspersions on the credibility of the witnesses the Prosecution plans to call to the stand.
They accused the Prosecution of carrying out shoddy investigations into the crimes against humanity for which Ruto and Sang are on the hook.
“Your honours, to the best of our knowledge, even the very act of obtaining a statement from the late Mr (Samuel) Kivuitu was not done by the Prosecution,” Sang’s lawyer Katwa Kigen said in support of his argument that his client was unfairly on trial.
On Wednesday, Senior ICC Trial Attorney Anton Steynberg made it clear that the Prosecution witnesses will not be limited to 22.
“The Prosecution will present up to 22 victims and witnesses, common Kenyan people who will describe the attacks on each of these locations. I was referring to witnesses, so-called crime based witnesses, who will testify as to actual events. I was not saying that the Prosecution was now limiting its witness list to 22 people,” he clarified.