, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 27 – International Criminal Court (ICC) judges on Thursday rejected a request by the prosecution to have the 27th witness in the case against DP William Ruto testify entirely in closed session.
The prosecution had asked the court that the witness be allowed to testify in private session to protect his identify.
“Part of the protection measures requested were that you (witness) were to testify entirely in private session. We rejected that request,” Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji ruled.
According to the court, part of the testimony of the witness did not require private sessions.
“We believe there should be parts of the testimony that you can give in public because there are some parts of the testimony that will not identify who you are,” he explained.
He explained that the court would be cautious to ensure that the witness does not give evidence that is likely to reveal his identity.
The judge said private sessions would only be held when necessary.
“We give protection measures to witnesses who testify primarily to avoid the witness being identified; that means their names, names of relatives… we do not want to have that sort of information given in public,” the judge said.
Deputy President Ruto was present in court after the judges requested his physical presence owing to the prosecution’s request.
In its request to the ICC judges, the prosecution said the testimony of witness P0658 who is also a victim is crucial in the trial against Ruto and former broadcaster Joshua arap Sang.
The current session is expected to run through to December 12 when the court will go on recess.
The trial against Ruto and Sang kicked off on September 10, 2013.
So far, 27 prosecution witnesses have appeared before the ICC judges to give evidence against the two.
Several witnesses were however compelled to testify after recanting their evidence and refusing to testify.
Some of them alleged that they had been coached to fix Ruto and Sang while others told the court that they were promised better lives which included financial gains and relocation once they accepted to give evidence.
Four of the witnesses compelled to testify were declared hostile by the prosecution which has denied the allegations levelled against its investigators and other officers.