Ruto/Sang: Judges summon eight witnesses to appear

ICC judges summoned eight witnesses to testify in the trial of William Ruto and Joshua Sang. © Diaspora Messenger

ICC judges summoned eight witnesses to testify in the trial of William Ruto and Joshua Sang. © Diaspora Messenger

ICC judges have summoned eight prosecution witnesses to appear in the trial against Deputy Kenyan President William Ruto and radio presenter Joshua Sang.

They also requested the assistance of the Kenyan government in executing the ruling.

On 17 April, a majority Trial Chamber V (a) granted the prosecution’s requests to summon eight Kenyan witnesses no longer cooperating or willing to testify.

In December 2013, the prosecution requested the Chamber to summon seven witnesses, adding one more last February.

The Chamber ruled that the eight must appear before either by video-link or at a location in Kenya on the dates and times specified by the prosecution and registry.

It requested Kenya to ensure the appearance of the witnesses by using all means available under the laws of Kenya.

The government was also requested to inform the witnesses of the Chamber’s ruling, arrange for them to appear and provide their testimonies and make appropriate arrangements for their security.

Civil society largely welcomed the Chamber’s ruling. Said Claire Duffy, senior legal advisor at the International Bar Assocation:

“I think it is good to see the court finding some teeth on a couple of these cooperation issues. In this decision and in the Kenyatta decision you can see the judges taking a bit of a stand on what it is going to require to fulfill the mandate that the states parties have given to it.”

Duffy was cautious, however, regarding how the compelled witnesses’ testimony could impact the case, calling it a “great unknown.”

Ruto and Sang are being tried for crimes against humanity allegedly committed during violence that followed Kenya’s 2007 presidential elections, which killed over 1,200 and displaced 600,000.

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