A witness told the International Criminal Court (ICC) she knew two men who acted as intermediaries in different investigations into the violence that shook Kenya after the December 2007 presidential election.
Witness 613 told Trial Chamber V(a) on Friday she did not have any direct knowledge of the work the men did to get witnesses for the investigations they were involved in or the protection programs the men worked with. The men in question were identified in court as William Rono and David Koros. Witness 613 identified Koros in photos shown to her by Shyamala Alagendra, one of the lawyers representing Deputy President William Sameoi Ruto.
Ruto is on trial at the ICC for his alleged role in the bloodshed that followed the December 2007 presidential election. He faces three counts of crimes against humanity. His co-accused is former journalist Joshua arap Sang, who also faces three counts of crimes against humanity.
Witness 613 talked about Rono and Koros in response to questions from Alagendra. The witness said she knew Rono, and she had heard he was involved in getting witnesses for the Commission of Inquiry into the Post-Election Violence, a government-appointed body that investigated the violence. The commission is commonly referred to in Kenya as the Waki Commission after the judge who led it, Philip Waki.
“These witnesses who were mobilized by William Rono were told to provide evidence to the Waki Commission to implicate Ruto and ODM [the Orange Democratic Party] in the post-election violence. Did you hear about that?” Alagendra asked the witness.
“I didn’t hear about it,” said Witness 613.
Alagendra also asked the witness whether she knew that senior government officials were also involved in getting witnesses to testify before the Waki Commission. Witness 613 said she was not aware. Alagendra named four individuals. They are Nancy Gitau, Mutea Iringo, Martha Karua, and Stephen Tarus.
At the time the Waki Commission was conducting its investigation, Gitau was the director of political affairs in the office of then President Mwai Kibaki. Iringo was the deputy permanent secretary of the Internal Security and Provincial Administration Ministry. Karua was the Justice Minister, and Tarus was a member of parliament and assistant minister.
Today, Gitau is a senior adviser to President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, who is also facing charges in a separate case at the ICC. Iringo is currently the principal secretary of the Internal Security and Provincial Administration Ministry, making him the senior-most bureaucrat there. Karua is no longer in the Cabinet but is a leader of her own political party, Narc-Kenya.
On the subject of the senior government officials, Alagendra asked Witness 613 whether she had heard that Gitau and Iringo had funded a witness protection program for some of the people who testified at the Waki Commission. The witness said she had not heard about that and that she had assumed the witnesses were funded by the Kenya Human Rights Commission. Witness 613 also said she had heard that Rono kept a close relationship with Iringo in 2009 and 2010, which was after the Waki Commission completed its work.
When it came to the subject of Koros, Witness 613 said she knew him and that he had mobilized witnesses for the Waki Commission, Human Rights Watch, and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights. Witness 613 told the court she had heard that Koros was in a witness protection program himself sometime between February 2008 and March 2008. She said she did not know whether it was Human Rights Watch that had put him in such a program as Alagendra suggested.
Alagendra asked her whether she had heard that Koros was paid 5,000 dollars while in witness protection. The witness said she did not hear about that. Alagendra also asked her whether she knew Koros and a Kenyan organization called Centre Against Torture had managed witnesses for the ICC. The witness said she did not know.
Witness 613 was also asked whether she knew Koros and the Centre Against Torture received funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and she said she did. The witness clarified that she did not know what the funding was for.
Alagendra asked Witness 613 whether she knew that the Swiss embassy in Kenya had given 16,000 dollars between April and June 2010 to Koros and the Centre Against Torture. The witness said she did not know, and the only funding she knew about was from USAID. Alagendra also asked the witness whether she had heard that the witnesses under the care of Koros had made false claims. Witness 613 replied that she had heard that.
At the beginning of the day, Alagendra asked the witness a series of questions about campaigns that Kibaki’s Party of National Unity held in the Eldoret area. She also asked Witness 613 about Ruto’s conduct when the parliamentary results were announced for his constituency. Alagendra also questioned the witness about the Orange Democratic Movement party that Ruto belonged to at the time and the ethnic make-up of its list of officials and candidates in the 2007 election.
Parts of the testimony of Witness 613 were in private session, including most of the afternoon session. Alagendra had indicated that she hoped to finish cross-examining the witness Friday, but because the afternoon session ended in private session it is difficult to know whether this happened. It is unclear whether Witness 613 will continue to testify on Monday.