International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Witness Testifies Mostly in Private Session

Witness 743 told the International Criminal Court (ICC) he told the prosecution what he heard Joshua arap Sang say on radio, but he did not give them any recordings of Sang’s programs on Kass FM.

The witness said this on Thursday in response to questions from Sang’s lawyer, Joseph Kipchumba Kigen-Katwa. The questions were based on Witness 743’s statements to the prosecution.

Sang is charged with three counts of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the violence that erupted after the December 2007 presidential election. At the time, Sang was the star presenter on the Kalenjin language radio station, Kass FM. He has since left the station. Sang’s co-accused is Deputy President William Samoei Ruto, who is also charged with … Continue Reading

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Prosecution Calls Its Own Witness “Thoroughly Unreliable and Incredible”

A lawyer for Deputy President William Samoei Ruto asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to suspend the prosecution’s questioning of Witness 743 until they investigate his claims that all witnesses whose statements were relied on to confirm the charges against Ruto had given false evidence.

Trial Chamber V(a) declined the application on Wednesday, adding the defense can revisit the application when it is their turn to question the witness. An investigator’s report the prosecution disclosed to the defense on Tuesday evening, after the day’s hearing had ended, prompted the application by Ruto’s lawyer, Shyamala Alagendra.

She told the chamber that the investigator’s report detailed a conversation a prosecution investigator had with Witness 743 in 2013 during which he made the allegation about the … Continue Reading

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Mixed Reactions in Uganda as LRA Commander is Transferred to the ICC

The transfer to the International Criminal Court (ICC) of Ugandan rebel commander Dominic Ongwen has drawn mixed reactions in his home country where he allegedly committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The second-in-command to Joseph Kony, whose Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) wrecked havoc in northern Uganda for nearly two decades, has arrived in The Hague following his surrender in the Central African Republic (CAR) earlier this month.

However, while there appears to be wide support in the capital Kampala for Mr. Ongwen’s trial in The Hague, local media has run numerous reports of victims of his crimes suggesting that the rebel commander should be tried locally.

There have also been suggestions by some victims, particularly members of his Acholi community that were … Continue Reading

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Guatemalan Police Official Found Guilty of Homicide and Crimes Against Humanity

Yesterday, a Guatemalan high-risk court convicted Pedro Garcia Arredondo, former head of “Command 6,” a special investigations unit of the now-defunct National Police, of homicide and crimes against humanity for his leadership of the 1980 siege of the Spanish embassy, which killed dozens of indigenous and student activists and diplomats. This notorious event during the Guatemalan internal armed conflict ruptured Guatemala’s relationship with Spain for years and preceded an intensifying conflict and further atrocities committed against indigenous communities and human rights activists. Thirty-five years after the events, this is the first time the case was heard before a court.

The court also found Arredondo guilty of the attempted murder of protester Gregorio Yuja Xona and former Spanish ambassador Maximo Cajal, the only survivors of … Continue Reading

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Trial Chamber Declares Witness 743 a Hostile Prosecution Witness

For the fifth time, Trial Chamber V(a) has declared a prosecution witness to be hostile in the International Criminal Court (ICC) trial of Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang.

The chamber made the decision to declare Witness 743 hostile on Tuesday afternoon after hearing a prosecution application on the matter and observations from the defense and lawyer for victims. The submissions were made in private session, but the chamber’s decision was made in open court.

Ruto and Sang each face three counts of crimes against humanity for their alleged roles in the violence that erupted after the December 2007 presidential poll.

Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji said that based on the testimony the court had heard on Monday and … Continue Reading

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Witness Says Sang Used Kass FM to Promote Ruto as Kalenjin Leader

A witness told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that Joshua arap Sang used his show on Kass FM to campaign for William Samoei Ruto to become the leader of the Kalenjin ethnic group.

On Monday, Witness 743 said Sang described Ruto on air as “a true leader” and select callers phoned in their comments on the idea of Ruto becoming the Kalenjin leader. Witness 743 began testifying in the trial of Ruto and Sang after Witness 789 concluded his testimony on Friday in private session.

Ruto and Sang have each been charged with three counts of crimes against humanity. The charges are based on their alleged roles in the violence that erupted after the December 2007 presidential poll. Ruto at the time … Continue Reading

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Preserving History: The Importance of Archives at the Extraordinary Chambers

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) currently faces pressing challenges, including the health of Khieu Samphan, an accused along with Nuon Chea in the current Case 002/02; and the apparent refusal of Cambodian Judicial Police to carry out court orders. But the court also faces a number of long term challenges. Some of these, such as fundraising, are well known but others aren’t as obvious and don’t receive sufficient attention. One often overlooked long term challenge is preserving the ECCC’s archives.

One of the central reasons for creating the ECCC is to help establish the historical record of Khmer Rouge era crimes and increase our understanding of that era. The ECCC’s archives are a critical component of that … Continue Reading

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In Closing Arguments, Prosecution Seeks Life in Prison for Former Guatemalan National Police Official for Spanish Embassy Fire

This week, in Guatemala City, a trial court heard the final witnesses and closing arguments in the case against a high-ranking former police official, Pedro Garcia Arredondo, who is accused of crimes against humanity, murder, and attempted murder for his role in the Spanish embassy fire that killed 37 protesters, diplomats, and others on January 31, 1980, as well as the killings of two funeral protesters in the days that followed.

Arredondo was the then head of the National Police’s “Command 6,” responsible for special investigations. His trial started on October 1, 2014, and he is currently serving a sentence for his role in the forced disappearance of university student Edgar Saenz. Prosecutors are seeking a sentence amounting to 1,240 years, while … Continue Reading

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Witness 789 Set to Conclude Testimony on Friday

Witness 789 testified entirely in private session on Thursday at the International Criminal Court (ICC) trial of Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang.

Before Witness 789 began his testimony, Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji said the prosecution and defense need to finish questioning the witness by the end of Friday because the chamber wanted to start with another witness on Monday. Judge Eboe-Osuji said there were particular circumstances that necessitated the next witness begin testifying on Monday though he did not elaborate in open court what those circumstances were.

The judge gave trial lawyer Alice Zago 30 minutes to wind-up her examination-in-chief of Witness 789. He said after that Sang’s lawyer, Philemon Koech, would cross-examine the witness. Koech … Continue Reading

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Witness Continues to Testify Mostly in Private Session

A witness briefly spoke about a ceremony in which William Samoei Ruto was made a Kalenjin elder. However, the rest of his testimony in the International Criminal Court (ICC) trial of Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang was conducted in private session.

Witness 789 told the court on Wednesday about the ceremony that took place at Eldoret Sports Grounds. The witness went through some of the details about the ceremony in private session before the court returned to open session. In public, Witness 789 said leaders from across Kenya attended the ceremony, and there was a large crowd of people that he estimated to be between 20,000 and 50,000.

The witness said Ruto was taken to a room where he received … Continue Reading

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