NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 17 – Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang are back in the dock on Tuesday morning at the International Criminal Court (ICC) after a five-day break.
Ruto flew back to The Hague on Monday morning ready to continue with his trial after the premature adjournment last Wednesday when the prosecution failed to present its first expert witness.
Sang who is Ruto’s co-accused remained at The Hague as his visa restricted him to stay in Den Haag during the duration of this trial.
The prosecution last week told the court that the witness will be ready to take the stand on Tuesday morning.
The witness who according to the prosecution is an expert, will shed light on the Kiambaa arson attack that left about 17-35 people dead during the post election violence in 2007-8.
According to ICC Outreach Coordinator Maria Kamara, expert witnesses are different from witnesses who saw the commissioning of crimes hence the witness will be for example telling the court what killed the victims, with what weapons, what caused the fire etc.
Starting on Tuesday, the prosecution will lay its case by presenting its witnesses who will be cross examined by other parties in the case.
According to Kamara, the prosecution has approximately 30 witnesses who will present their evidence to the court.
The defence, judges and victims’ legal representative Wilfred Nderitu will question the witnesses once they give their evidence.
In an earlier submission, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda indicated that they would require over 400 hours to present evidence.
Meanwhile media reports continue to indicate that the prosecution is still losing witnesses with a week into the trials. The prosecution has however argued that its case against Ruto and Sang is watertight.
Bensouda during her opening statement said she has incriminating evidence to show that Ruto and Sang formed a network, supported it and coordinated it to commit crimes in the Rift Valley.
The prosecution has claimed that whereas Ruto was the apex of the network and the main financier, Sang was his mouthpiece of informing direct perpetrators who to attack and where.
The two pleaded not guilty to the charges of murder, deportation or forcible transfer of populations and persecution during Kenya’s 2007-8 post-election violence. Their lawyers also maintained the two are innocent and that the ICC selected the wrong people using ‘cooked’ evidence from coached witnesses.
This week Ruto and Sang will encounter allegations levelled against them as prosecution witnesses will be telling the court how they were involved in the planning and coordination of the attacks.
Since the reported withdrawals of witnesses over the weekend, the court has not disclosed the total number of witnesses it will call to testify. It has also not commented on the latest withdrawal of four witnesses.