, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 27 – Deputy President William Ruto’s defence team has filed a motion of no case to answer at the International Criminal Court (ICC) citing lack of sufficient evidence by the Office of The Prosecutor to prove his culpability.
In the application filed by Ruto’s lead counsel Karim Khan, the defence outlined five reasons why Ruto should be acquitted of the charges against him, which include the prosecutor’s failure to produce evidence of an organisation dubbed ‘The Network’ which was key to its case.
He pointed out that according to the OTP, Ruto was the head of a multi faceted network composed of political, media, financial, tribal and military components whose sole aim was to implement an organisational policy directed at punishing and expelling those in the Rift Valley in support of PNU gaining power by creating a uniform ODM voting bloc.
“The attacks were to take place in the event of a PNU victory. The existence of the common plan is, therefore, inextricably linked to the existence of the network. Ultimately, the OTP asserts that the three counts of crimes against humanity were committed through the network,” Khan stated.
According to Ruto’s lawyer however, the post election violence was spontaneous, a natural reaction to perceptions that the elections were rigged rather than an organised event attributed to one and the same group of perpetrators following a unified and predetermined strategy.
“As P0268 acknowledged, “by 2007 there was a perception that Kenya had an over powerful presidency and a regime that had a criminal element. Many Kenyans did not trust the government. There were concerns that Kibaki and the so called “Mount Kenya Mafia” were not willing to share power and that, by 2007, Kibaki was not going to give up power willingly. These concerns were exacerbated by Kibaki’s appointment of 19 out of the 22 ECK commissioners and the perception that the elections would be rigged,” the application stated.
Khan further contended that the OTP had failed to produce sufficient evidence to establish Ruto’s individual criminal responsibility for the crimes charged.
“As detailed in this motion, the OTP has failed to adduce sufficient evidence to satisfy the no case to answer standard that Mr Ruto’s alleged personal acts or omissions amounted to an ‘essential contribution’ to (Article 25(3)(a)), had a ‘direct’ (Article 25(3)(b)) or ‘substantial’ (Article 25(3)(c)) effect on, or constituted a ‘significant contribution’ to the commission of the crimes,” he stated.
He said that Ruto did not contribute to the crimes that he is charged with, and that no evidence has been produced to support the allegations that he occupied a position at the top of the ‘network’ or was at the head of its supposed military component.
“The correct position, as confirmed by P0464, is that the Kalenjin identity is a relatively recent development and that notions of “Kalenjin kingship” based on associations with Koitalel Samoei are erroneous. Instead, shortly after Mr Ruto announced his intention to vie for the presidency in the “Eldama Ravine Declaration”, he was installed as a Kalenjin elder in a ceremony at Eldoret Sports Club on 3 June 2006. The video of the event shows that the theme espoused by all speakers was not ethnic division but unity. Specifically, Mr Ruto talked about eradicating poverty and about everyone working together to benefit all Kenyans,” he said.
He stressed that Ruto was not responsible for the crimes he is charged with and that there is overwhelming hearsay content of the prosecutor’s case.
“A review of the trial record establishes that, in respect of the murder charge, there is no relevant evidence for Turbo town Kapsabet town and Nandi Hills town and insufficient evidence for Kimumu, Langas and Yamumbi,” he stated.
“Whilst some evidence of murder has been led in relation to Huruma and Kiambaa which may fall within the scope of the charges, there is no evidence linking Ruto to those killings. Therefore, Count 1 must be dismissed in its entirety,” he said.
The defence has now requested the Trial Chamber to enter a judgment of acquittal in respect of the three counts of crimes against humanity with which Ruto is charged.