, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 12 – The trial against Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang resumed on Monday at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Trial Chamber V (a) Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji told the court that Ruto was allowed to be absent during the testimony of the 28th witness who is expected to take the stand this week, but ordered for his presence when the 29th witness begins to testify.
“Mr Ruto has been excused for the commencement of this session and that he will be present for the first five days of the testimony of the next witness commencing after this,” he explained.
Ruto’s lawyer David Hooper said Ruto will be present in court when the 29th witness begins testifying before the court.
So far 27 witnesses in the case against Ruto and Sang have testified with the 28th witness expected to take stand this week.
The Prosecution is expected to close its case in the current session which is scheduled to run up to March 13.
Before the prosecution closes its case, the defence teams of Ruto and Sang will inform Trial Chamber V (a) if they intend to file a motion of no-case-to-answer after the judges allowed them to do so.
So far no formal application by any of the teams has been made in the court’s records.
By filing a motion of no-case-to-answer, the defence teams will allow the judges to review the prosecution’s case without Ruto and Sang putting a defence to the allegations made in the evidence presented by the prosecutor and witnesses.
However, Karim Khan (Ruto’s Lawyer) indicated that Meshack Yebei who was found murdered on December 28, 2014 was a defence witness.
If none of the defence teams will file the motion of-no-case-answer, then they will make their case by presenting defence evidence which will include presentation of witnesses to challenge the prosecution’s evidence.
Parties to the case will be allowed to question defence witnesses in the same way they were allowed to question prosecution witnesses after completion of evidence in chief.
Once the defence closes its case, parties to the case, that is the prosecution, defence and Victims’ Legal Representative Wilfred Nderitu (representing 628 victims) will make closing remarks.
The trial will enter a third stage where the three judges of Trial Chamber V (a); Eboe-Osuji (presiding), Judge Olga Herrera Carbuccia and Judge Robert Fremr will adjourn the session to pave way for the review of the evidence presented during the trial that kicked off on September 10, 2013.
There is no fixed timeline for the judges to review the evidence but once done, they will announce a date where they will issue a verdict which can be ‘an innocent verdict, an acquittal or a guilty verdict.’
The accused persons, if found guilty, can be either be sent to jail or fined or both, or asked for reparation of victims.
“At the ICC if there is a guilty verdict, a sentence will range from a maximum of 30 years imprisonment followed by a fine as and when the judges will determine and also reparation for victims could be determined by the judges. The ICC cannot give a death penalty in the event of a conviction,” Kamara explained during a past interview.
Ruto and Sang are accused as indirect co-perpetrators who were involved in the planning and implementation of attacks in the Rift Valley during the 2008 Post Election Violence in Kenya.
They are facing charges of murder, forcible transfer of population and persecution.
Based on the evidence, the three judges will issue a verdict for every charge.