, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 10 – Parties in the International Criminal Court (ICC) case against Deputy President William Ruto and his co-accused Joshua arap Sang have agreed to change the schedule of appearance of prosecution witnesses.
The prosecution wants to substitute witness P0356, who was supposed to testify as the third witness, although it has not publicly given reasons why.
Prosecution Counsel Adewole Omofade said on Thursday that there would however be a two-day gap in the trial calendar as a result of the changes.
“In order to accommodate the difficulties with P0356 proceeding after the next two witnesses, we have managed to liaise with the Victims’ and Witnesses’ Unit,” he said.
“It appears that witnesses P0487 and P0535 are able to be substituted for P0356.”
Ruto’s defence counsel Karim Khan said he had no problem with the developments arguing that his client’s interests had been accommodated.
Sang’s lawyer Katwa Kigen however took an issue with the changes saying that the defence had been ambushed by the last minute changes.
He added that a new witness against Sang had been included without giving his defence team a heads up.
“The last witness (P0268) would place us in the same difficulty we would have had with the other witness and we would very much hope that we don’t get to reach him. This is because he is not among the first witnesses and we were not quite prepared,” he explained.
“That is the difficulty we face and it is because of the extent to which he mentions my client.”
Omofade however said that the Kigen would still have enough time to prepare because he already knew that the witness was on the list.
He also explained that the Prosecution had been forced to move witnesses up in some instances so as to cover court time and ensure that it is not lost.
“On the original list that was provided, we have this witness as number 19. So we have moved a number of witnesses up and substituted them. There is adequate room for the Defence to prepare,” he argued.
The next witness who might be called after witness P0326 is an expert witness who is allegedly well versed with the historical background of the Rift Valley region.
The Prosecution has been having difficulties with its witnesses because of their dropping out amidst claims that they are being bribed and coerced to pull out.
A former journalist, Walter Barasa, is already battling an ICC warrant of arrest over three accusations of witness bribery.
The 41 year-old has already denied the charges and a Kenyan High Court is meant to issue a verdict of whether or not he should be extradited to the Dutch based court for trial.
“I have not committed any crime and I did not play any role in the post election violence so I will not hide my self,” he had said in an interview with Capital FM News on October 2, the same day when his arrest order was unsealed.