International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Witness Says Sang Advocated Peace but Also Incited the Kalenjin Against the Kikuyu

A witness told the International Criminal Court (ICC) Joshua arap Sang used to broadcast messages of peace and advocate for the Kalenjin to coexist with people from other ethnic groups, while also broadcasting messages inciting the Kalenjin against the Kikuyu.

Witness 800 said this while being cross-examined by Sang’s lawyer, Joseph Kipchumba Kigen-Katwa on Wednesday. Kigen-Katwa spent much of the day playing a selection of radio broadcasts featuring Sang and other radio presenters while asking the witness to confirm the nature of the broadcasts or whether he heard them before.

Sang was the star presenter of Kass FM, a radio station that broadcasts in the Kalenjin language. He is on trial on three counts of crimes against humanity for his alleged role … Continue Reading

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Defense Accuses Witness of Colluding with Another Witness Against Ruto

A lawyer for Deputy President William Samoei Ruto accused a prosecution witness of colluding with another prosecution witness to make the same allegation against Ruto in his trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Shyamala Alagendra spent most of the first session of Tuesday’s hearing asking Witness 800 about an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party campaign rally that he and another prosecution witness had said took place on December 23, 2007.

Ruto is on trial for his alleged role in the bloodshed that followed the election that took place on December 27, 2007. He is charged with three counts of crimes against humanity. His co-accused is former journalist Joshua arap Sang, who also faces three counts of crimes against humanity.

When Witness 800 testified … Continue Reading

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More Than 30 Years Later, Guatemala’s Deadly Spanish Embassy Siege is on Trial in a Guatemalan Courtroom

On October 1, 34 years after the deadly fire that killed 37 protesters, diplomats, and others, Guatemalan judges for the first time convened to consider the culpability of a state actor in the notorious 1980 siege of the Spanish embassy. In eight hearings over the last two months, prosecutors presented 30 witnesses in its case against Pedro García Arredondo, the former commander of a notorious police investigative unit. Yesterday, the defense started to present witnesses and will continue to do so before the trial closes, likely at the end of December.

On January 31, 1980, campesinos and students entered the Spanish embassy in Guatemala to protest their grievances; their communities in the country’s northern highlands were under attack by state security … Continue Reading

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Defense for Ruto Challenges Witness 800 on Earlier Testimony

Deputy President William Samoei Ruto’s lawyer challenged a witness on his recollection of statements Ruto made during the 2005 constitutional referendum and on the eve of voting day in the December 2007 elections.

Shyamala Alagendra also questioned Witness 800 in some detail on Monday about his relationship with a particular investigator working for the International Criminal Court’s (ICC’s) Office of the Prosecutor, who was not named in open session.

The trial of Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang has been ongoing since September last year. Both Ruto and Sang are charged with three counts of crimes against humanity for their alleged roles in the bloodshed the followed the December 2007 elections.

During the mid-morning session Alagendra questioned Witness 800 about his testimony … Continue Reading

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Guatemala Trials: Domestic Prosecution of International Crimes

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the new “Guatemala Trials” channel of IJMonitor.org.

Please visit for regular updates on significant prosecutions of international crimes taking place in Guatemala, building on the monitoring of the trial in Guatemala of Efrain Rios Montt and Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez that we launched in early 2013.

The new effort will include reporting on the trial of Pedro Garcia Arredondo, a former senior police officer. He is currently charged crimes against humanity in connection with the storming of the Spanish embassy in Guatemala City in 1980, which left 37 people dead. His trial opened on October 1.

We also be following the Sepur Zarco case, which  involves charges against two former army officers, Col. Esteelmer Francisco Reyes Girón and Heriberto Valdez Asij, who are accused of crimes against humanity at the … Continue Reading

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Defense Questions Motives of Prosecution’s Witness 800

A defense lawyer has questioned the motive of a prosecution witness for testifying in the International Criminal Court (ICC) trial of Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang.

Shyamala Alagendra, who represents Ruto, asked Witness 800 on Friday whether at one point he had told the Office of the Prosecutor he would testify against her client in exchange for permanent relocation and an improved life outside Kenya.

Witness 800 replied that on, “Several occasions I have said I will not be safe to be in risk areas as I testify.”

Alagendra asked him again whether he had never asked for permanent relocation and the witness replied, “No, it has never been my intention to use this case to improve … Continue Reading

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Guatemala Judicial Independence Under Threat

Guatemala’s justice system was praised around the world last year for the prosecution of a former dictator for atrocities carried out against his own people. Efraín Ríos Montt was put on trial and convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity, in a painful public examination of a brutal period in the country’s long armed conflict, during which tens of thousands of people were killed or “disappeared.”

What a difference a year makes.

The conviction of Ríos Montt has been followed by a severe backlash. Only days after the verdict, in a divided and controversial ruling, Guatemala’s constitutional court annulled the sentence and left the genocide trial in a state of uncertainty that continues until today.

The lead judge in the genocide trial, Yassmin … Continue Reading

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Bemba Faces Second ICC Trial on Charges of Corrupting Witnesses

International Criminal Court (ICC) judges have confirmed charges of corruptly influencing witnesses against Jean-Pierre Bemba and four associates and committed them to trial.

Pre-Trial Chamber II found that there were reasonable grounds to believe that Bemba, his two former lawyers, a defense witness and Congolese parliamentarian, implemented a “strategy” to present false evidence in Bemba’s ongoing trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The alleged crimes involved the corruption of 14 witnesses between 2011 and November 2013 in various locations, including the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Portugal, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon.

The witnesses involved are ‘Witness D04-02,’ ‘Witness D04-03,’ ‘Witness D0d-04,’ ‘Witness D04-06,’ ‘Witness D04-13,’ ‘Witness D04-15,’ ‘Witness D04-23,’ ‘Witness D04-25,’ ‘Witness D04-29,’ ‘Witness D04-54,’ ‘Witness … Continue Reading

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Witness Narrates His Frustrations with ICC Protection Program

A witness told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that at one point he became so frustrated with how his protection officers were treating him he began discussions with an individual who offered him money to retract the statement he had given to the prosecution.

Witness 800 said on Thursday he was called by someone only identified in open court as person number 19 at a place he had been relocated to outside Kenya. He said person 19 told him about an offer from another individual – identified as person number seven – but the witness would have to return to Kenya to be given details. The witness told the court he returned to Kenya and met person seven and person 19. The … Continue Reading

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Witness Says Kalenjin Elders Held Cleansing Ceremony for Youths After 2008 Attacks

A witness told the International Criminal Court (ICC) Kalenjin elders held a cleansing ceremony for Kalenjin youths who had participated in attacks following the declaration of results in the December 2007 presidential election.

Witness 800 told the court on Wednesday the ceremony was held because according to Kalenjin tradition anyone who had taken part in violence needed to be cleansed or else they would be cursed. The witness said he took part in the ceremony.

“All the youths in my village were to attend the same ceremony, and I did not want people to speculate that I was not part of what took place [the attacks] because they would have come for me later,” the witness said, explaining why he attended the … Continue Reading

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