Monday, 31 August 2015

Kenya: ICC Warns MPs as State Moves to 'Save' Ruto

A senior judge in the ICC case against Deputy President William Ruto has accused Kenyan MPs and the Jubilee administration of a campaign to sabotage the trials.
The warning by Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji came as a number of lawmakers from Mount Kenya urged Ruto to boycott his trial and their Kalenjin counterparts openly protested that government had abandoned the DP.
The ICC's move to admit directly into evidence the recanted testimony of five hostile witnesses against Ruto and broadcaster Joshua Sang has sent shockwaves into the DP's political inner circle.
However, the government, in a multi-pronged strategy - both legal and political - is determined to extricate Ruto from the stranglehold of the court in The Hague.
In his partly concurring opinion to admit the recalcitrant witnesses' testimony, Osuji, a Nigerian, strongly criticised government officials and MPs, saying that the objective of their utterances was to "prevent the trial running its course".
Osuji also took a swipe at community leaders, church elders and bloggers.
"All these actions, coming as they were, in the course of this case, were always fraught with the danger of jointly or severally creating or contributing to an intimidating climate for witnesses," Osuji declared.
"They truly evoke an unbridled form of the very definition of contempt of court."
Speaking on Saturday, Rift Valley MPs claimed the government machinery had taken its foot off the political and diplomatic pedal after the ICC withdrew charges against President Uhuru Kenyatta.
In a bold move, the leaders expressed their anger at the government and threatened to rethink their support for President Kenyatta.
"We wonder why CS Amina and other government officials were so keen moving around the world to petition the ICC States Parties to terminate the case [against Uhuru] but when it comes to our own they are silent," protested Bomet Central MP Ronald Tonui.
His sentiments were shared by Bomet Senator Wilfred Lesan, MPs Leonard Sang (Bureti), Bernard Bett (Bomet East), Joyce Laboso (Sotik), Paul Savimbi (Chepalungu), Eric Keter (Belgut) and Woman representatives Mary Seneta (Kajiado) and Cecilia Ng'etich (Bomet).
The lawmakers protested that it was only the Rift Valley's sons, Ruto and Sang, who remain in the dock as the ICC tightens the noose.
But yesterday Attorney General Githu Muigai said the government would seek to be enjoined in the appeal against admission of the prior recorded and then recanted testimony.
Muigai said the trial judges went against a promise made to Africa that an amendment to Rule 68 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence would not be applied retrospectively.
"We think it is a very important question on how the court operates," Muigai told the Star.
"We and the rest of the African countries agreed to pass an amendment to the rules after the court promised that the rule would not apply retroactively."
State House, through its Director of Digital Communication Dennis Itumbi, has also announced its intention to challenge the move through the Kenyan High Court.
Itumbi said he will seek an interpretation of the ICC ruling, arguing that Kenyan law only allows treaties that do not contradict the fundamental basics of the constitution.
There are also indications that the Jubilee brigade will soon kick off a fresh round of prayer rallies to provide a platform for a political onslaught on the ICC.
There is a silent but strong feeling in government that Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda's grip on the duo is already strong and a serious political and diplomatic campaign is necessary to get Ruto off the hook.
It was just such a campaign that secured Uhuru and Ruto the Jubilee presidential ticket, despite both being suspects with cases at The Hague back in 2012-13.
The President's case was withdrawn for lack of evidence in December last year.
Kalenjin Elders Rebuke Rutto Over War of Words With DP
Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto is to blame for a recent war of words with the DP, that painted the Kalenjin in bad light, … see more »

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