International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Witness Tells Kenyan Court that Mental Health of People Displaced from their Homes Remains Fragile Years after Post-Election Violence

A psychologist told the Kenyan High Court that people displaced from their homes during the violence that followed the December 2007 presidential election continue to experience general anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder years later.

Dinah Kituyi, a counseling psychologist, shared her conclusions during an April 21 hearing into a petition filed by 25 individuals displaced from their homes (IDPs) between December 2007 and February 2008.

Three organizations that assist IDPs are also part of the petition, which was filed in 2011. These are the Federation of Women Lawyers-Kenya, the Kenya Section of the International Commission of Jurists, and the Kenya Human Rights Commission.

The petitioners are asking the court to do several things, including declaring the government responsible for the violence and displacement … Continue Reading

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In Kenyan Court, Witnesses Say Post-Election Violence Victims Remain Traumatized

Two witnesses told the High Court of Kenya that victims of sexual and gender-based violence remained traumatized from the abuse they suffered during the violence that followed the December 2007 presidential election.

On Thursday, April 14, the witnesses testified before High Court Judge Issac Lenaola. During the post-election violence period, they worked for the Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) Center at Kenyatta National Hospital, the country’s main referral hospital, and years after that.

Social worker and trauma counselor Theresa Njore and retired nurse Elizabeth Mukhisa were testifying in a hearing on a petition eight SGBV victims and four non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have filed.

The petitioners, which include the NGOs Coalition on Violence Against Women, Independent Medico-Legal Unit, the Kenyan Section of the International Commission … Continue Reading

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Dissenting Judge Said Majority Did Not Stick to Earlier Decision on “No Case to Answer” Motions

Judge Olga Herrera Carbuccia based her dissenting opinion on a previous decision the trial chamber made setting out the criteria it would use to assess any “no case to answer” motion in the trial of Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang.

Judge Carbuccia dissented from the majority decision of Trial Chamber V(a), which terminated the case against Ruto and Sang and vacated the three counts of crimes against humanity they had faced for their alleged roles in the violence that followed the December 2007 presidential election in Kenya.

The decision she referred to is from June 3, 2014 in which Trial Chamber V(a) set out the framework to determine the merits of a “no case to answer” motion.

In that June … Continue Reading

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Why ICC Judges Did Not Acquit Ruto and Sang

Judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) have declined to acquit Kenya’s Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang because of interference with prosecution witnesses and attempts to meddle in the case.

In a 2-1 majority decision issued on Tuesday, April 5, Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji and Judge Robert Fremr terminated the case against Ruto and Sang and vacated the three charges of crime against humanity they were on trial for because the prosecution’s case had broken down and the evidence against the two was weak. Judge Olga Herrera Carbuccia dissented.

The judges made their decisions in response to defense applications arguing that Ruto and Sang did not have a case to answer following the conclusion of the prosecution’s case. … Continue Reading

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ICC Terminates the Case against Ruto and Sang

Trial judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) have terminated the case against Kenya’s Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang.

Trial Chamber V(a) decided to vacate the charges against Ruto and Sang in a 2-1 decision, said Jelena Vukasinovic, the ICC Chief of Office in Kenya. Vukasinovic was speaking at a news conference in Nairobi.

Wilfred Nderitu, the lawyer for victims, said that the victims will respect the decision.

“There is no doubt that it would come as a disappointment to the victims,” Nderitu said at the same news conference addressed by Vukasinovic. “I can say that I spoke [to the victims], and many of them had expected that this case would proceed to the defense case.”

The public … Continue Reading

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Trial Chamber Will Take Time to Reach Decision on “No Case to Answer” Submissions

This year two decisions have been eagerly awaited in the trial of the International Criminal Court (ICC) trial of Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang.

One has been on whether the statements of witnesses who recanted their remarks or failed to appear in court can be used as evidence. The Appeals Chamber announced its decision on the matter of witness statements two weeks ago.

Attention has now turned to the other eagerly awaited announcment: Trial Chamber V(a)’s decision on the defense’s “no case to answer” applications. The “no case to answer” submissions have been the subject of public interest in Kenya since early last year. This interest began after the last prosecution witness testified in the trial of … Continue Reading

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Appeals Chamber Reverses Decision on Witness Statements

The top chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has determined that previously recorded statements of five prosecution witnesses who recanted those statements or failed to show up in court cannot be used as evidence in the trial of Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang.

Presiding Judge Piotr Hofmanski said the Appeals Chamber unanimously decided on Friday to reverse Trial Chamber V(a)’s majority decision made on August 19. The Appeals Chamber said the majority decision erred in determining that Rule 68 of the court’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence could be used to admit those statements as evidence.

Judge Hofmanski read a summary of the chamber’s decision in open court. He was the only judge in court and … Continue Reading

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Ruto and Sang Defense Want Trial Chamber Decision on Witness Statements Reversed

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is set to announce on Friday its decision on whether statements five witnesses gave to prosecution investigators can be used as evidence in the trial of Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang.

Lawyers for Ruto and Sang have appealed the majority decision of Trial Chamber V(a), made on August 19 last year, to admit the statements of five witnesses as evidence in the case against their clients. The lawyers filed their appeals in October last year. The prosecution filed their response in November.

The African Union (AU) Commission filed observations as a friend of the court after the Appeals Chamber allowed it to do so. In an October 12 decision, … Continue Reading

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Issue of Standard of Proof Dominates Final Day of “No Case to Answer” Hearings

The issue of what standard of proof judges should use when considering defense applications for the acquittal of Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang dominated the final day of hearings on those applications.

Lawyers representing Ruto and Sang have applied to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to dismiss the case against their clients before they present their defense. They argued on Wednesday and Thursday that the prosecution had failed to produce evidence to support allegations that Ruto and Sang had been involved in the violence that erupted after the December 2007 elections in Kenya.

Both men have been charged with three counts of crimes against humanity for their alleged roles in violence in the Rift Valley region. … Continue Reading

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Lawyer Says Prosecution Failed to Prove Ruto’s Involvement in Violence

The lead lawyer for Deputy President William Samoei Ruto told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that the prosecution has failed to prove Ruto was involved in the violence that followed the December 2007 election.

Karim Khan told the judges of Trial Chamber V(a) on Thursday that the prosecution has been unable to prove its theory that Ruto was the head of a network that planned, organised, and financed the violence in the districts of Uasin Gishu and Nandi in the Rift Valley region.

Khan was making the case for Ruto’s acquittal during hearings the chamber called to listen to submissions on whether the defense should be called to make its case.

The defense teams of Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang filed … Continue Reading

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