Defense lawyers for the Kenyan broadcast journalist Joshua Sang have today told Pre-Trial Chamber Judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague that the prosecution’s case against Mr. Sang is very weak and that the radio journalist has only been charged as part of a scheme to implicate prominent Kenyan politician and Member of Parliament William Samoei Ruto.
A member of Mr. Sang’s defense team, Ms. Logan Hambrick told the court today that “the prosecution’s case is weak and does not meet the threshold” necessary to warrant a confirmation of the charges against Mr. Sang.
“Mr. Sang has been brought here as a victim of a scheme to implicate Mr. Ruto and by extent members of his alleged Kalenjin network,” Ms. Hambrick submitted to the judges.
Addressing the Chamber for the first time since the proceedings started, Ms. Hambrick urged the judges that the prosecution’s case should fail, highlighting how various prosecution witnesses have contradicted each other.
Ms. Hambrick told the judges that the case against Mr. Sang only exists because prosecutors had failed to undertake proper investigations. She said that if only prosecutors had searched public records, transcripts of radio broadcasts and media clips, they would have realized that there is no case against Mr. Sang.
Ms. Hambrick referenced a statement made to prosecutors by a particular witness who said that Mr. Ruto had made inciting comments at a rally where a TV network and two newspapers were present but the prosecution had failed to get copies of what was said at the rally from the TV network and the newspaper representatives.
“The prosecution just wasn’t interested” and these public records certainly discredit prosecution witnesses, Ms. Hambrick said.
Ms. Hambrick referred to prosecution witnesses as “career witnesses” who have seized every opportunity to talk to anybody investigating the Post-Elections Violence (PEV) in Kenya.
“The prosecution case is built around people we refer to as career witnesses,” Ms. Hambrick said.
She argued that the prosecution failed to independently investigate the events that obtained in Kenya from December 2007 to January 2008 and have relied solely on reports from Non-Governmental Organizations and other Commissions in Kenya.
Ms. Hambrick raised four points, which according to her, explain why Mr. Sang should not be held liable.
- Mr. Sang did not have the requisite intention to contribute to the commission of Crimes Against Humanity as alleged by the prosecution. The prosecution has asked the Chamber to infer Sang’s mental state from meetings which did not occur.
- There is no nexus between Mr. Sang’s broadcast and the commission of crimes in Kenya. There is no causal link between words on air and the conduct of perpetrators.
- Political speech and rhetoric especially during democratic elections is protected.
- Mr. Sang cannot be held liable for the views of others expressed over KASS FM. Journalists have obligation to air the views of people on air. Just like the BBC cannot be held liable for the views expressed by Saif Ghadaffi, the son of ousted Libyan leader Muamarr Ghadaffi, Mr. Sang can equally not be held liable for the views of others expressed on his radio program.
“We request that you do not confirm the charges brought against Mr. Sang,” she concluded.
Mr. Sang’s defense lawyers also today led in evidence the first of two witnesses to testify for the radio journalist in the confirmation of charges hearing.
Mr. Paul Kiprono Chepkwony, a University Professor from Kenya took the witness stand to talk about Mr. Sang’s radio broadcasts and the events that prevailed in Kenya during the PEV of 2007-2008.
Mr. Chepkwony told the judges that he was a regular listener and had been a guest on Mr. Sang’s radio program on several occasions and never did he hear the radio journalist use coded words or incite violence among his Kalenjin listeners.
Prosecutors allege that Mr. Sang used his radio broadcasts to incite violence by use of coded languages to mainly listeners of the Kalenjin tribe. Prosecutors further say that Mr. Sang screened his callers, some of whom used his radio program to make announcements or communicate certain messages to alleged perpetrators of violence in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya. Mr. Sang has denied the allegations.
According to Mr. Chepkwony, on occasions when he served as Mr. Sang’s studio guest, not a single time did he notice that Mr. Sang knew the identities of the people who made phone calls into his program.
The witness told the judges that he was a member of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), a party led by present Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga. The first suspect in this case, Mr. Ruto is also a member of the ODM. The witness left the ODM to join the United Democratic Movement (UDM) when he lost internal ODM elections for parliamentary candidacy. The witness is aware that Mr. Ruto is working towards moving over to the UDM, a party that he (Ruto) helped found in 2002.
The witness asserted that the violence which erupted in Kenya in late 2007 to early 2008 was spontaneous and was not part of an event that had been planned by the suspects as alleged by the prosecution.
Prosecutors and the legal representatives for victims also had the chance to cross-examine the witness.
As the witness concluded his evidence, proceedings were adjourned for the day and when Court resumes on Wednesday, Mr. Sang’s second witness will commence his evidence.
Release our men first before anything is planned!All the so called coded messages are false.Mr Sang was well trained on ethics and public relation.
It is rather obvious that Ocampo camped in Kenya only to copy what the regular corrupt and pretence riddled human rights crusaders thought he would like to present to the ICC. The man needed to talk to some of us who saw it all to understand that the occurences in Kenya, like the recent skirmishes in the UK were spontaneous activities by disgruntled citizens. Children as young as 12 would cause havoc to motorists plying routes in their neighbourhood since Government failed to function as a sizeable section of citizens heeded mass action calls by ODM leaders who alleged they had been robbed of election victory.
Apparently it was the cases in Rift Valley which caught everyone’s attention more. How about the looting in Nairobi, Mombasa and killing of policemen in Kisumu? Let’s face it; someone else, not among the Ocampo Six was responsible for the suffering and deaths of innocent countrymen and women in these cities.
It will not be a surprise to soon learn that when Ocampo arrived in Kenya he went on full scale leisure, game safari, marrying and unmarrying nice ladies around the country till he forgot that chief among his mission was to collect evidence against those who bore the greatest responsibility on the post election violence of 2007-8.
It is now beyond reasonable doubt that Ocampo relied on lies from untrustworthy people in the society who are are even self confessed criminals.pls let our INNOCENT men be reliesed.
You should not forget that a list of ten names was given to the ICC, it is absurd that Ocampo chose to start with these six and not the other four. Is there a ploy to diver our attention from the other culprits in the list? At the same time, it is ignorant of us to totally defend the suspects without hard evidence. I suggest that we all listen to both sides of the trial and then give our honest opinion. Let us put aside bitterness and tribalism and give support where necessary.
I believe that we all want both the PM Raila Odinga and the president Kibaki to be tried together with the suspects and as thus we are partial in our judgment of the Ocampo 6. But is there enough EVIDENCE to incarcerate them? The bitter truth is that without hard evidence neither of the partisans who we may hate or despise because we believe that they were partisans will be brought to book.
For that reason, any person who has EVIDENCE against these or any other individual, please, do not hesitate to contact the RELEVANT AUTHORITY regarding this. In as much as the witnesses are also being targeted, there are many ways to give evidence anonymously.
Let us not be cowed into submission of guilt or innocence, because of our sentiments or our backgrounds. It is both immature and partisan.
let any one of us be accountable and said the true and not prosecute someone on the lay bases . although iam a layman in jurisdiction notion ,do my view it seem our ICC prosecutor never done enough in evidences searching e.g the dates mention are not same, i really doubts the evidences .
We should avoid sideshows in this ICC thing.Rift Valley has seen violence every election year,and instead of people asking themselves why,they resort to narrowing the whole RV into just just three individuals.It is not a dot on the Kenyan map;it is an expanse of land (the only) that shares border with two countries-Ethiopia to the north,and Tanzania to the south.Eldoret,where Ocampo pitched his tent,is a dot on the kenyan map.RV,immediately after independence,suffered a dent when Jomo Kenyatta,then the president,brought many of his native community to settle on RV.He was the president,and his word was law.Those who laid ancestral claim to the land the white man left were disenfranchised.So in RV,the main contention is on land.RV Kikuyus know that.Kalenjins too.BUT THEY AVOID TO DISCUSS THIS LAND ISSUE FOR GENUINE RECONCILIATION.