ICC clears Kenya’s Deputy President Ruto

Kenya's Deputy President, William Ruto

Kenya’s Deputy President, William Ruto

The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday dismissed the crimes against humanity charges leveled against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto in response to his no case to answer application he made before the court.

Ruto who denies the charges relating to crimes allegedly committed during violence that followed the 2007 elections in which over 1,200 people were killed is jointly charged with Radio journalist Joshua arap Sang. His lawyers applied to the Court to terminate the charges for lack of incriminating evidence, while several prosecution witnesses have withdrawn or changed their original statements.

Chief Registrar Helena Vukasinovic said Trial Chamber judges found no incriminating evidence to sustain the cases against the two defendants.

The deputy president in his application to have the case against him terminated haD cited insufficient evidence to prove his involvement in the 2007/08 post-election violence.

On Sunday, the deputy president expressed confidence that his case will be terminated. “I would like to thank the Kenyan people for their continued prayers and support. We trust that all the charges facing Sang and I will be withdrawn,” said Ruto.

The ruling means Ruto and his co-accused are in the clear although the  judges indicated the prosecution can appeal the verdict.

On Monday, the Kenyan deputy president was excused from attending the session at the Hague-based court since he was holding the fort for President Uhuru Kenyatta who is on a two-nation European tour of France and Germany.
Tuesday’s ruling was made public on the ICC website at 6 pm (East African Time).

“The charges are hereby vacated and the accused are discharged from the process without prejudice to their presumption of innocence or the prosecutors right to re-prosecute at a later time.” Judge Eboe Esuji said in a statement.

Ruto’s acquittal follows that of Kenya’s leader Uhuru Kenyatta last year.

President Uhuru Kenyatta who is on tour in France, welcomed his deputy’s acquittal saying in a statement that “This moment is long overdue but no less joyful. I join my brothers in celebrating their moment of justice.”