, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 3 – Weeks after celebrating the termination of charges against him by the International Criminal Court (ICC), Deputy President William Ruto’s lawyers are back before the war-crimes court, this time seeking the appointment of an independent prosecutor to investigate lying witnesses, and even ICC staff.
His lead Counsel Karim Khan, in an application on Tuesday lodged a trail of allegations against four prosecution witnesses and intermediaries who he accused of interfering with the course of justice during the trial against Ruto.
- Following the ruling in which charges against Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang were vacated, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she would consider her next steps.
- In the application, she alleged that her case had crumbled due to witness interference pointing her fingers to three Kenyans wanted by the court over the same.
- The court also asked Kenya to arrest journalist Walter Barasa, Paul Gicheru and lawyer Phillip Bett over alleged witness interference
“The defence for Mr William Samoei Ruto respectfully requests the Trial Chamber to order the Office of the Prosecutor to appoint an amicus prosecutor to investigate, with a view to initiating criminal prosecution, OTP witnesses, OTP intermediaries, and possibly ICC staff members, for offences against the administration of justice, contrary to Article 70 of the Rome Statute,” he stated.
Those to be probed are witnesses P-0356, P-0409, P-0613 and P-0800 and intermediaries who tampered or interfered with the collection of evidence by the Office of the Prosecutor, by identifying and coaching witnesses to give false information.
According to Khan, it was because of their false evidence that Ruto was subjected to the ICC process for six years, only for the court to vacate his charges and discharge him from the ICC process at the prosecutor’s level.
In celebrating his victory, Ruto said he had forgiven those who lied to have him falsely tried by the court.
The witnesses and the intermediaries, Khan alleged, were motivated by bribes and other financial benefits they derived in their course of ‘coaching’ and recruiting ‘lying’ witnesses.
Khan further called for investigations on claims that ICC staff members may have engaged in sexual relations with witnesses and their families, been bribed by witnesses and were party to the submission of false financial claims, which are breaches of the Witness, Victims Unit (WVU).
“The defence submits that OTP evidence gives reason to believe that ICC staff members may have engaged in sexual relations with witnesses and their families, been bribed by witnesses; and were party to the submission of false financial claims, breaches of VWU protocols by witnesses, and obtaining pecuniary benefit from the false financial claims,” which he explained were all offences under Article 70(1) (c).
According to the defence, the claims made in the application were not limited only to the four witnesses but would provide evidence against other prosecution witnesses.
The defence went on further to explain that the application made on Tuesday was not the first time an issue on credibility of witnesses and ICC intermediaries had been raised.