, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 13 – African Union Justice Ministers and Attorneys General have rejected the use of recanted evidence in the International Criminal Court (ICC) case against Deputy President William Ruto.
They argue the use if the evidence runs contrary to the agreement reached during talks on Rule 68 at the 12th Assembly of States Parties (ASP) in 2013.
They have now vowed to back Kenya during the 14th Assembly of States Parties session later this month to review the amended Rule 68.
“We, the Ministers of Justice and the Attorneys General of the African Union Member States are convinced that the use by the ICC Prosecutor of witness recanted evidence under the amended Rule 68 of the Rome Statute is contrary to both the understanding reached by States Parties during the negotiations of the Rule at the 12th Assembly of States Parties in 2013 and to the principle of non-retroactivity in criminal law justice and constitutes a serious affront to the universally accepted right to fair trial,” they said in a statement.
They indicated that the Kenyan legislators’ petition to the UN Security Council and to the Assembly of States Parties seeking the appointment of an independent mechanism to audit the prosecutor’s witness identification and recruitment process was in order.
They met during the ministerial meeting of the Specialized Technical Committee of Justice and Legal Affairs in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
In the statement, they reaffirmed the unwavering commitment of the African Union and its member states to combat impunity, and promote democracy, the rule of law and good governance.
“Recalling the important role played by the African countries during the negotiations of the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court and further recognizing that thirty four (34) African Union Member States are States Parties to the Rome Statute,” the statement read.
They also expressed gratitude to the African Union Commission for the robust submissions it made in respect to the Appeal on the use of Rule 68 now pending before the Appeals Chamber of the ICC.
DP Ruto’s legal team is set to fight the ICC evidence by witnesses who recanted their testimony.
In a filing dated October 6, Ruto’s lawyers led by Karim Khan argued that the Trial Chamber made at least seven fundamental errors in admitting the statements of the witnesses who have since recanted their evidence.
The 52-page written submission argued that the judges erred in applying the amendment to Rule 68 that permits prior recorded testimony to ongoing cases.
The lawyers had also requested an opportunity to make oral hearings of the case before the judges.
Khan had stated that due to the weight of the matter, the judges of the Appeals Chamber should allow oral hearings before reaching a decision of the matter.