13 May 2013
Here’s another update, for those of you who are following the ICC’s cases against Kenya’s new President, Uhuru Kenyatta, and Deputy President, William Ruto:
Another Witness Drops Out of Ruto Case
The ICC’s case against Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto took a blow as another witness has recanted his statement and will not testify:
So far, the prosecution has lost 13 key witnesses in the twin cases involving President Uhuru Kenyatta, Mr Ruto and radio journalist Joshua Sang. Mr Kenyatta’s co-accused, former head of Public Service Francis Muthaura, has been discharged.
Through his lawyer Paul Gicheru, the witness who had told the prosecutor that he attended meetings to plan violence at Mr Ruto’s home now says he lied. He says he has never visited any of Mr Ruto’s homes.
Judges to Rule on Ruto Trial Date
A status conference is scheduled to take place in the Hague tomorrow (Tuesday, 14 May 2013). At this conference, a trial date should be set for Ruto. Kenya’s Daily Nation reports that Ruto flew to the Netherlands on Sunday evening and will be appearing at this conference.
The status conference is expected to discuss Mr Ruto’s request to have his trial moved to November as well as ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s request to add five witnesses to their list and modalities of the accused’s participation in the trial.
Ms Bensouda has accused the government of undermining the court’s investigations thereby limiting the evidence available to the trial judges.
Ms Bensouda, in her response to the government’s submission on the status of cooperation with the ICC filed by Attorney-General Githu Muigai, said the State had failed to provide the “most critical documents and records”.
No Other News
I have not seen any news since Friday about the letter that was sent to the UN Security Council requesting that all charges be dismissed. I’m not aware of any official statement President Kenyatta may have made about it, either taking responsibility for it (although it’s ultimately his responsibility as head of state, of course) or denying that he authorized it. I don’t expect to hear any more news about it, since the Security Council could not make the ICC drop the charges even if they wanted to.
I take the letter to be a sign that Uhuru and Ruto don’t intend to actually attend their trials, if it even comes to that; I expect the ICC’s cases will almost surely fall apart before they come to trial anyway, as witnesses continue to recant their statements and decline to give testimony.