Ruto, Sang trial to skip a day over witness snag

April 1, 2014 4:24 pm
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The witness had told Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji that he and other Kikuyu men were forced to defend themselves with stones as they were unprepared for the PEV/FILE
The witness had told Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji that he and other Kikuyu men were forced to defend themselves with stones as they were unprepared for the PEV/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 1 – Former Kass FM presenter Joshua arap Sang’s defence counsel Katwa Kigen on Tuesday admonished the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecution over its handling of evidence, after it emerged that the 15th witness would not take the stand on Wednesday as expected.

“Could I just pray that the prosecution keep a close watch on the movement of the testimony so that we do not have a wasted day like tomorrow,” he posed at the end of P0508’s testimony.

Senior Trial Lawyer Anton Steynberg asked the court to adjourn until Thursday as their next witness was still being readied for the stand.

“I’m informed by the VWU (Victims and Witnesses Unit) that there are still a number of processes which they need to complete before the witness will be available to testify,” he said. READ Ruto due back in Kenya after ICC witness hitch

He however sought to have the legal teams thrash out the in-court protective measures that would be accorded to the witness on Wednesday, much to the displeasure, he admitted, of the defence counsels.

“I had proposed that we might deal with the in-court protective measures tomorrow but I recall from a previous (and I’m seeing the faces of my learned friends) occasion that they were reluctant to come in specifically for that purpose on a day that might otherwise be put to better use,” he said.

Kigen also sought to have the prosecution call an additional two witnesses to the stand before the Easter break, in the interest of prudent time management.

“We are aware that the prosecution had two additional witnesses who were there as back up. We were wondering what your directions may be as to whether those other back-up witnesses could be taken in this session if we finish earlier than the time allocated for this session,” he asked.

Steynberg however clarified that while an expert witness would be available to testify no earlier than Monday, the other back up witness Kigen referred to would not.

“I’m advised that with the other witnesses there may be some logistical difficulties getting the witness here at what will now be fairly short notice. That witness was in fact a back up primarily in case the following witnesses don’t appear,” he explained.

Prior to the witness debate, Deputy President William Ruto’s defence attorney Essa Faal had accused the 14th Prosecution witness of trying to avoid admitting that the 2008 post-election violence (PEV) in the Rift Valley wasn’t part of an ethnic cleansing campaign but a spontaneous reaction to vote tampering.

“Did you see him (Samuel Kivuitu) talking about people cooking up results?” he posed to the witness who responded: “He talked of so many things but my interest was in the conclusion; who won the election.”

“Did you hear him talk about cooking up the results?” Faal continued to probe after the witness said he mostly listened to the radio.

And to which the witness responded, “I did not listen to that.”

The answers led Faal to question how dependable the witness’ testimony on the events that preceded the 2008 PEV could be.

The witness had told Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji that he and other Kikuyu men were forced to defend themselves with stones as they were unprepared for the PEV.

Eboe-Osuji questioned this testimony, given the witness’ earlier assertion that given the 1992 and 1997 PEV, there was an uncertainty surrounding the 2007 General Election in the Rift Valley.

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