Ruto ICC trial in quagmire as witness refuses to testify

March 27, 2015 8:45 am
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The witness took to the stand on Thursday but it was unclear what transpired as the session was held in private/FILE
The witness took to the stand on Thursday but it was unclear what transpired as the session was held in private/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 27 – The International Criminal Court on Friday adjourned the trial against Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang for the fourth time in this week over continued inconsistency of the 30th witness.

The witness took to the stand on Thursday but it was unclear what transpired as the session was held in private.

It is understood that the witness refused to talk when he appeared via video link from a secret location in The Hague.

Trial Chamber V (a) scheduled for another status conference on Friday at 12.30 (Kenyan time) to discuss the fate of the trial which has aborted since its resumption on Monday.

The witness failed to show up on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as expected but the prosecution asked for more time to locate him.

On Wednesday night the witness was found and summoned to testify.

According to a Dutch human rights report, lawyers of witness P0727 claimed that he had gone into hiding over fears for his life and that of his family.

The witness and his family are however on asylum in the Netherlands.

The lawyers feel that the witness should not be forced to testify as is happening now.

“Now he and his family are being put in danger by forcing him to talk. This is really unacceptable,” Counsel Michiel Pestman one of his lawyers is quoted in the report.

The report further states that the ICC investigative judge wants the witness arrested and detained if he does not testify.

“The Dutch investigative judge in The Hague, who has been charged with the implementation of the ICC’s request to hear the witness, now threatens to arrest and detain the witness for as long as he chooses not to give testimony,” it read.

The prosecution which has been pushing for the witness to be forced to testify says that he has crucial evidence that will make its case against Ruto water-tight.

Witness P0727 who is the 30th witness in the trial against Ruto and Sang is the last to testify.

The prosecution is soon expected to make its closing remarks of the case to mark the end of the first phase of the trial that kicked off on September 10, 2013.

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