Kenya’s deputy president awaits critical ICC ruling

Kenya's Deputy President, William Ruto

Kenya’s Deputy President, William Ruto

Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto and his defence team will know by end of Friday whether or not the International Criminal Court (ICC) will admit recanted evidence in their high profile case related to the 2007 post-election deadly violence in the East African nation.

The Appeals Chamber of the Hague-based court announced earlier this week it would hand down its verdict Friday at 6.30pm Kenya time.

Mr. Ruto, his co-defendant, Joshua Arap Sang, former radio personality in Kenya, and their legal team are hoping the Chamber rules against the ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s contention of allowing the court to apply the amendment to Rule 68 of the Rome Statute and use testimony that has since been retracted. The prosecutor argues that recanted statements should admitted in the proceedings given the fact that 5 witnesses were intimidated and bribed into withdrawing their testimonies.

Earlier, the judges at the Trial Chamber had ruled recanted testimony could be used but the co-accused and Kenya protested and appealed.

“The admission of hearsay evidence, which is central to the OTP’s (office of the prosecutor) case, will significantly affect the fair conduct of proceedings because it will not only affect the defence’s ability to properly test the OTP’s case but to adequately make its case,” Ruto and Sang’s legal representatives have been quoted as saying.

Ruto and Sang are facing charges of crimes against humanity in the 2007 post election violence that claimed over 1000 people displace thousands more. The  ICC case originally involved the current Kenyan leader, President Uhuru Kenyatta but his charges have since been dropped by the court.

Because of this case, Kenya has repeatedly fronted plans to leave the ICC, and at the recent 26th summit of the African Union, African leaders supported Kenya’s proposal for all African countries to exit the court citing “unfair targeting” of the continent’s leaders.

“Elsewhere in the world, many things happen, many flagrant violations of human rights, but nobody cares,” Chad President and current Chairperson of the African Union Idriss Déby said at the summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The Ugandan leader, Yoweri Museveni has also publicly trained attacks against the ICC.