NAIROBI, Kenya, May 23 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecution has made an application asking the court to admit prior evidence of six witnesses who recanted their evidence in the case against Deputy President William Ruto .
In an application filed on Thursday, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said the evidence submitted by the witnesses in their primary testimonies were important in giving the full picture of the happening of the 2007/2008 Post Election Violence (PEV).
“Last, the Prosecution submits that the admission of the Prior Recorded Testimony of the Corrupted Witnesses would assist the fair evaluation of their testimony by providing the Chamber with the totality of their evidence,” Bensouda explained.
Bensouda said the witnesses had given the evidence before they were corrupted hence the primary statements should be considered as evidence since the witnesses were corrupted to recant.
The prior recorded testimony is highly relevant to this case, since it contains the corrupted witnesses’ accounts concerning the PEV in the areas described in the Document Containing the Charges, the crimes that were committed, and the people responsible for this. The probative value of this evidence stems from its internal consistency, intrinsic reliability and – in general – its corroboration by evidence already on the record,” she explained.
She further argued that their evidence will be important when judges will be evaluating the evidence to make a ruling in the case against Deputy President William Ruto and Journalist Joshua arap Sang.
Nine witnesses in the case against Ruto and Sang were compelled to testify after they told the court that they were no longer willing to testify.
So far, eight of them agreed to take stand and some of them recanted their evidence saying they had been bribed to fix Ruto and Sang.
The others stuck to their initial statements and also made allegations that they had been bribed to recant their evidence.
The 30th witness has severally refused to testify and even now, it is uncertain if the witness will testify as ordered by Trial V (a) judges.
Bensouda’s application seeks to have evidence of six of those witnesses taken in as evidence based on Rule 68.
In 2013 during the Assembly of State Parties held in The Netherlands, Kenya lobbied to have the Kenyan cases exempted from the rule that accepts evidence of witnesses’ statements in their absence.
In the proposed amendments to Rule 68 during the ASP, it stated that prior recorded testimony can be introduced in court, instead of hearing the witness in person, when he or she is unable to be physically present in court for various reasons, including death, disappearance, sickness or any other compelling reason.