Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ruto, Sang trial resumes

Ruto, Sang trial resumes

Published on Sep 16, 2013
The trial of Deputy president William Ruto and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang for crimes against humanity resumes today (Tuesday). The trial that kicked off on Tuesday last week was adjourned after the prosecution asked for more time to produce witnesses. Ruto and Sang are facing murder and displacement of population charges arising form the 2008 post election violence that caused the death of 1, 133 people. Ruto left for The Hague on Monday morning.

Cord to fight Kenya's ICC withdrawal

Published on Sep 16, 2013
Cord has vowed to fight the move to have Kenya withdrawn from the Rome Statute. At a special joint parliamentary group meeting attended by senators and members of the national assembly, Cord said it is opposed to the plan to delink Kenya from the ICC, but wishes President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto well in their trial. Enock Sikolia reports.

Kenya Wants To Leave The International Criminal Court
Published on Sep 5, 2013
Kenyan MPs have approved a motion to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC) following an emergency debate.

A bill to this effect is expected to be introduced in the next 30 days, after opposition MPs boycotted the vote.

The ICC has charged President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto with crimes against humanity, which they both deny. Mr Ruto's trial is due to start in The Hague next week.

The ICC said the cases would continue even if Kenya pulled out.

The charges against both Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto stem from violence that broke out after disputed elections in 2007, in which more than 1,000 people were killed and 600,000 forced from their homes.

Mr Kenyatta is to go on trial in November.
'Suspend co-operation'

They were on opposite sides during the 2007 election but formed an alliance for elections in March this year, and analysts say the ICC prosecutions bolstered their campaign as they portrayed it as foreign interference in Kenya's domestic affairs.

The BBC's Gabriel Gatehouse reports from the capital, Nairobi that even though the vote does not halt the cases, it sends a powerful signal of defiance to The Hague - a sentiment that is becoming increasingly popular, in Kenya and across much of Africa.

No other country has withdrawn from the ICC.

Kenya's parliament is dominated by the Jubilee coalition formed by Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto.

The motion, tabled by majority leader Adan Duale, said the pair had been "lawfully elected" and the government should take steps to "immediately" withdraw from the Rome Statute, which established the ICC.

It also says Kenya will "suspend any links, cooperation and assistance" to the ICC.

Mr Duale noted that the US had refused to sign the Rome Statute to protect its citizens and soldiers from potential politically motivated prosecutions.

"Let us protect our citizens. Let us defend the sovereignty of the nation of Kenya," Mr Duale is quoted as saying.

MPs from the opposition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord), led by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, walked out of the debate, calling the motion "capricious" and "ill-considered".

Kenya's withdrawal would not bring "honour to the nation and dignity to our leaders", Cord said in a statement.

"Kenya cannot exist outside the realm of international law," it said.

ICC spokesman Fadi El Abdallah told the BBC's Newsday programme that Kenya's withdrawal would have no bearing on the cases against the two men.

A withdrawal has an effect only for the future and never for the past," he said.

If Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto failed to co-operate, ICC judges "may decide to issue arrest warrants against these accused", Mr Abdallah added.

Amnesty International said the parliamentary motion was the latest in a series of "disturbing initiatives to undermine the work of the ICC in Kenya and across the continent".

"Amnesty International calls on each and every parliamentarian to stand against impunity and reject this proposal," said Netsanet Belay, the group's Africa programme director, in a statement.

Our reporter says that the withdrawal still has to pass at least one more parliamentary hurdle, and could take a year or more to come into effect.

Both Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto have repeatedly called for the cases against them to be dropped, saying the charges are politically motivated.

The ICC has refused and says it pursues justice impartially.

In May, the African Union accused the ICC of "hunting" Africans because of their race.

The ICC strongly denies this, saying it is fighting for the rights of the African victims of atrocities.

The ICC was set up in 2002 to deal with genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.

The court has been ratified by 122 countries, including 34 in Africa.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013

DP William Ruto and Sang ICC trial resumes

The trial of Deputy president William Ruto and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang for crimes against humanity resumes today (Tuesday). The trial that kicked off on Tuesday last week was adjourned after the prosecution asked for more time to produce witnesses. Ruto and Sang are facing murder and displacement of population charges arising form the 2008 post election violence that caused the death of 1, 133 people. Ruto left for The Hague on Monday morning.

In Summary

  • First prosecution takes the stand as trial resumes.
  • Mr Ruto and Mr Sang face charges of murder, deportation or forcible transfer of population and persecution constituting crimes against humanity.
By ANTHONY KARIUKIMore by this Author
17:08 Steynberg requests the Chamber to go into a private session so that the witness can give testimony using a sketch, which would identify places. Justice Eboe-Osuji agrees.
17:07 Witness: He took my brother to the Moi Teaching Referral Hospital.
17:05 I had to use a shortcut through the forest to reach a place called Oasis. A Kalenjin, who had a pick up truck, helped me after I spoke to him in his dialect.
17:03 Witness: Brown shoved my brother to me and said: "Take your trash". My brother was in a bad way. He took a few steps and then fell to the ground. An arrow had been lodged in his neck.
17:00 I attempted to save him. I took off all my clothing and there I stood naked. In the Kalenjin custom, when a woman takes off her clothes it is like a curse. My intention was to save my brother's life.
16:58 Witness says a close relative was hiding at the church's fence. He took off but was not able to escape. He was shot by an arrow.
16:56 Witness: An elder was struck with an axe by youth. The first person to strike him was Brown. I couldn't recognise the others since I was afraid.
16:55 The judge tells the witness to be careful as she testifies so that her identity is not revealed.
16:53 Witness: Margaret Wanjiru is her name.
16:52 Witness: I witnessed the rape.
16:48 Witness: When I was told the children had been pushed back into the church, I nearly went mad. Some youths had set up a roadblock. A woman asked Brown for help. She was raped.
16:45 Witness: I just know he was called Brown because he was light skinned. He was armed with an axe and some arrows.
16:42 Witness: Emmanuel Bor ordered the young people to allow women and children to leave the church.
16:28 Steynberg requests a private session to go into specifics of the attack. The judge accedes to the request.
16:27 Witness: Young Kalenjins grabbed those who tried to escape and pushed them back into the church.
16:23 Steynberg says he will re-phrase the question. Witness: I was talking about the main door. The bicycles were placed in the corridor. When the church was burnt down, the bicycles were placed in the main entrance blocking the exit. It was the Kalenjin youth who did it to ensure we did not flee.
16:21 Khan objects saying the prosecution is asking leading questions. The objection is sustained, the judge rules.
16:18 Witness: It was difficult to get out the church. Bicycles at the entrance made it hard to get out. They were some of the items we looked to keep.
16:17 They (youth) set the mattresses on fire after setting them against the walls. Everyone was trying to get out.
16:16 Witness: He poured the contents of the jerrican onto the church's roof.
16:14 Witness: Chemalan had a blue jerrican. It was made out of plastic. It contained petrol that was used to burn down the church.
16:05 Judge Eboe-Osuji says the parties' concerns have been noted. He asks the court officer to bring the witness back to the courtroom in a closed session.
16:04 Ruto lawyer's Katwa Kigen also raises issue with the interpretation and requests that transcripts be provided.
16:03 Khan: Parties can ask for clarification when the need arises.
16:02 Steynberg says he will try to regulate the pace of witness testimony so that every detail is clearly captured.
16:00 Victims' lawyer Wilfred Nderitu says the interpretation is not accurate in some instances.
15:57 Court is back in session.
14:20 Court takes a break.
14:10 The witness identifies a local leader, a Mr Chemalan, as one of those at the centre of the Kiambaa Church attack.
14:03 Witness: I could see what was happening through some holes in the windows. It is difficult to estimate the number of those inside the church.
14:02 Witness: The church was made of wood but its inside was lined with mud, the roof was covered with iron sheets.
14:01 The youth threw stones and shot arrows from all directions, the witness says.
13:59 There were some cracks in the windows and I could identify some of the attackers.
13:57 Witness: The church was torched as we sought refuge.
13:54 Witness: The attackers were Kalenjins.
13:52 Witness: Some were dressed in khaki shorts and headgear. The youth had painted themselves with white clay.
13:51 Some of the youth carried traditional weapons such as machetes and sticks, the witness says.
13:50 I did not count, but I put their number to approximately 3,000.
13:48 They came to the church and attacked us, the witness testifies. Some came from behind while others approached from the left.
13:47 Witness: The youth were chanting Hoi Hoi Hoi.
13:44 Witness: I will attempt to show you using gestures. They (youth) came from behind us.
13:40 Witness: We heard shouting and some of us went into the church. There were many of them and they were singing as they came closer.
13:38 Steynberg: What happened on the morning of January 1? Witness: It is difficult for me to narrate, but I will try.
13:37 There were many of us, children and women at the Kiambaa church, she says.
13:32 Witness: We refers to "Kikuyus"
13:31 Kalenjin youths threatened me, they told me if we didn't vote for ODM we would face the consequences, the witness says.
13:30 Witness says her parents' home was burned down as the violence spread.
13:26 Sang lawyer's Kigen says the pre trial chamber had rejected evidence of violence on some certain dates but he is overruled by the Chamber.
13:25 Steynberg leads the witness in giving her testimony.
13:18 Justice Eboe-Osuji tells court officer to usher the witness during a closed session.
13:15 Khan requests the Chamber to consider that witnesses should sign a document binding them to tell the truth and the consequences of perjury.
13:14 Khan says the accused has a right to be protected from false testimony in the same way the witnesses' dignity should be protected.
13:12 Justice Eboe-Osuji says party calling the witness to ensure they are adequately prepared.
13:11 The presiding judge restates that the Chamber will strive to ensure witnesses are not intimidated.
13:10 Court is back in open session.
12:21 Court goes into a private session.
12:20 Witness: There are also Kalenjins
12:18 Witness says Kikuyus are the predominant tribe in Kiambaa.
12:15 Judge: I do not want to create an intimidating atmosphere. The witnesses have an obligation to tell the truth in answer to Khan's insistence that witnesses must not lie.
12:15 The judge tells the witness to be careful about providing information that could reveal her identity.
12:13 Court is back in open session.
11:45 Steynberg requests for a private session to introduce the witness.
11:44 Steynberg leads the witness in her testimony.
11:42 The witness takes oath to tell the truth.
11:41 Ruto's lawyer Karim Khan stresses that the witness should provide truthful testimony.
11:40 "Do not try to guess an answer to a question you don't know," the judge tells the witness.
11:39 He says the court is interested in the truth and tells the witness to listen keenly to questions from the parties.
11:35 The judge tells the witness to feel comfortable as she gives her testimony.
11:29 The court goes into closed session.
11:27 Lead prosecution counsel Anton Steynberg says the prosecution will request for at least three private sessions in the course of the witness' testimony.
11:25 The judge says the court will go into a closed session to allow the witness to take the stand.
11:21 Judge Eboe-Osuji says the Chamber has assessed the witness and deserves protective measures. Voice and identity distortion during proceedings.
11:21 Prosecution says witness 536 is ready to testify.
11:19 The presiding judge says each prosecution witness has four hours to give their testimony.
11:17 The judge says the Chamber will also take submissions on the individual assessment of witnesses.
11:15 He says the Chamber will take submissions on Kenya's Parliament motion to pull-out of the ICC on Wednesday morning.
11:13 Judge Eboe-Osuji ask the prosecution if it is ready to proceed. The answer is yes.
11:12 Court officer calls the case.
11:10 Court is in session.
The first prosecution witness in the case facing Deputy President William Ruto and Joshua arap Sang takes the stand Tuesday.
The woman, who was a victim of the Kiambaa Church arson attack, is the first of 10 witnesses lined up by International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.
According to the legal representative for the victims, Wilfred Nderitu, there is no specific sequence for the appearance of the witnesses.
“There are no specific numbers of witnesses lined up this week but we expect that 10 will testify during this session,” said Mr Nderitu.
Lead prosecution counsel Anton Steynberg has indicated that the prosecution would call up to “22 victims and witnesses, common Kenyan people, who will describe the attacks” in the towns of Turbo, Kapsabet and Nandi Hills and five locations in the greater Eldoret area in the case against.
The five locations are Kiambaa, Langas, Yamumbi, Huruma and Kimumu.
Mr Ruto and Mr Sang face charges of murder, deportation or forcible transfer of population and persecution constituting crimes against humanity.

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