NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 11 – The ICC Prosecution faced a fresh hurdle Friday, after the 27th witness admitted that he lied to investigators that he attended two preparatory meetings to plan for attacks in the Rift Valley region before the 2007 General Election.
According to Deputy President William Ruto’s lawyer Karim Khan, the Pre-Trial Chamber made substantive reference to the two meetings when it confirmed charges against Ruto.
During cross-examination, Khan submitted to the court three exhibits where the witness testified that he attended the meetings allegedly chaired by Ruto at his Sugoi home and Sirikwa Hotel in Eldoret.
The exhibits also show documentation of the witness admitting to the prosecution that he did not attend the two meetings.
“You remember telling the prosecution during your screening interview in April 2010 that you attended a planning meeting on September 2, 2007 that was chaired by Ruto,” Khan explained.
“I remember saying that,” the witness responded.
“That is what you told the prosecution. That is the layout of Ruto’s house, of course I was there. Look I will do a drawing for you,” Khan illustrated.
“I have already said it was that way,” the witness answered.
“Then you told the prosecution that you have never been to Ruto’s home,” Khan posed.
After the witness admitted the change of his account, Khan wondered what the witness felt after his evidence was used to confirm charges against Ruto only for him to later tell the prosecution that he had given a false account.
“And you are aware following the confirmation proceedings the Pre-Trial Chamber relied upon your evidence of your presence at these two meetings to confirm the case against Ruto. She referred specifically to your presence and evidence being at these meetings to ensure this case came here before this trial chamber,” Khan asked.
The court accepted Khan’s exhibits of P0658’s preparatory log with the prosecution, the clarification and a sketch which he had drawn to describe Ruto’s Sugoi home.
In the initial testimony to the ICC investigators the witness said he had attended the preparatory meetings chaired by Ruto but during the clarification with the prosecution, the witness says he did not attend the two meetings.
He also admitted having sketched a drawing to demonstrate to the ICC investigators Ruto’s Sugoi home after he told them that he had been there attending a preparatory meeting for the attacks in the Rift Valley.
In the Document Containing Charges released on August 1, 2011, Ruto is alleged to have planned nine preparatory meetings to expel supporters of the Party of National Unity (Kikuyus) from the Rift Valley.
The witness completed his testimony on Thursday evening marking the end of presentation of prosecution witnesses in the year 2014.
On Friday, a status conference will be held to discuss the next sessions of the case against Ruto and Sang.
Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji on Wednesday told the prosecution that it will have to close its case in the planned sessions of 2015.
So far, the prosecution has presented most of its witness with about five of the nine compelled to testify expected to take the stand in 2015.