NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 16 – The third prosecution witness against Deputy President William Ruto has told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that there were highly placed officials within the Party of National Unity (PNU) and in the government who were bent on incriminating Ruto before the Waki Commission over the 2007-8 post election violence, whether he was culpable or not.
The witness told Trial Chamber V (a) during cross-examination by one of Ruto’s lawyers Shyamala Alagendra on Wednesday that she had heard that the officials wanted to blame Ruto for the violence irrespective of the truth.
The witness, only identified as P0189, confirmed the defence observations to the judges revealing that Ruto was to be blamed by the officials for the events that transpired in the North Rift during the 2007-8 bloodshed.
“Did you hear that the aim of some PNU officials and some government officials was to blame Mr Ruto for the violence before the Waki Commission?” asked Alagendra.
“Yes,” responded the witness.
“And they wanted to blame Mr Ruto regardless of the truth. I’m right, aren’t I?” asked the lawyer.
“Yes,” the witness answered.
“And what they wanted was to say that William Ruto was responsible for that post election violence in North Rift Valley. I’m right, aren’t I?” observed Alagendra.
“Yes,” confirmed the witness again.
Alagendra further read out the names of eight individuals alleged to have been working for the PNU to gather evidence surrounding the post election violence which they are said to have presented to the Waki Commission.
The witness however denied knowledge that these specific individuals had been collecting such information for the Waki Commission.
“Are you aware that there was a group of individuals comprising, Stephen Tarus, Martha Karua, Mutea Iringo, Nancy Gitau, Stephen Mugwira, Abraham Limo, William Rono and Bethuel Ruto that were working together to identify witnesses and collect information to present to the Waki Commission?” asked Alagendra.
“No,” said the witness.
She had earlier told the court that she knew who some of those individuals were and the various roles they played for PNU.
At this time in 2008 Karua was the Minister of Justice while Iringo was an Under Secretary for Internal Security. Gitau was the Director of Political Affairs in the Office of the President.
The witness said that she knew who Karua was but did not know who Iringo and Gitau were.
She however confirmed that she knew Limo, Rono, Ruto (Bethuel) and Tarus.
The witness at the same time told the court that she was not aware that Iringo and Gitau placed any witnesses on witness protection and provided their upkeep as stated by Alagendra.
The witness had in the course of her testimony claimed that Ruto was booed and called a murderer in April 2008, while trying to address a crowd of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at the Eldoret Showground.