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Ruto, Sang case enters crucial stage Friday

After the prosecution ends its case arguments will shift to the defence teams of Ruto and Sang.  Photo/ FILE

After the prosecution ends its case arguments will shift to the defence teams of Ruto and Sang. Photo/ FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 4 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) will on Friday hold a status conference in the case against Deputy President William Ruto and Journalist Joshua arap Sang.

The status conference is significant as it will give a clear road map over what next, with the prosecution expected to wrap up its case.

After the prosecution ends its case arguments will shift to the defence teams of Ruto and Sang.

The status conference scheduled to take place in Courtroom 1 from 10am to 4pm (Hague time) according to the ICC hearing schedule, is being held at a time when ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has said she does not have incriminating evidence against Ruto and Sang.

In her application to the court on May 21, Bensouda argued that five of her witnesses who had incriminating evidence had been intimidated and bribed hence they recanted their evidence at the trial stage.

The sixth witness she said, also withdrew from the case over similar interference.

READ: Evidence to incriminate Ruto, Sang inadequate – Bensouda

Consequently, she asked the court to allow her to apply Rule 68 of the Rules of Procedure to admit prior evidence of the six witnesses.

In her argument, their initial statements had crucial evidence that she planned to rely on to establish the criminal responsibility of Ruto and Sang.

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The prosecutor told the Trial V (a) judges that the witnesses had been corrupted by people working on behalf of the accused persons.

READ: Bensouda wants evidence of recanting witnesses admitted

During Friday’s conference, it will also be known the status of the 30th and last prosecution witness who had refused to testify on several occasions.

The witness who was expected to appear in court failed to show up and made extra demands to the prosecution before he could agree to testify.

However, the prosecution was hopeful that he would testify arguing that he had key evidence.

At some point the witness had gone into hiding but was later traced and compelled to appear in court.

READ: Elusive witness in Ruto ICC case found

The judges and prosecution are expected to announce if the Witness P0727 will take stand or not.

Friday’s conference will also shape the next steps of the case against Ruto and Sang which will include the prosecutor’s closing remarks.

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It will then give the defence teams a chance to file a motion of no-case-to-answer in which applications will be made for every charge against Ruto and Sang.

Each of them faces three charges of ‘murder, deportation or forcible transfer of populations and persecution’.

The defence teams are allowed 14 days after the prosecutor’s closing remarks to file a motion of no-case-to-answer.

The application is restricted to 40 pages though the defence teams had requested to be allowed 60 extra pages.

Will Ruto, Sang bid to end ICC case in March succeed?

If the judges accept the motion of no-case-to-answer fully, it will mark the end of the ICC case against Ruto and Sang.

But if the judges reject the application partially, the case will move to the next phase in which the defence will make their case by calling their witnesses to prove the innocence of Ruto and Sang.

The two are accused as indirect co-perpetrators of the 2007/8 Post Election Violence in Kenya.

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