International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Fourth prosecution witness describes attack in Langas area

The fourth prosecution witness in the trial of Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang described an attack he said took place 200 meters from his house.

The attack took place in an area called Langas near the town of Eldoret during the violence that followed the December 2007 presidential poll. The witness testified on Thursday with his identity concealed from the public in the same way the previous witnesses’ identities were hidden from the public. The blinds of the public gallery were closed whenever the witness entered or left court and a screen hide him from view of those in the public gallery. His voice was distorted to make it difficult to identify him and in the court’s video stream his image was also distorted.

Testifying under a pseudonym as Witness 376, he said that the attack involved more than 10 men between the ages of 18 and 21 who wore their t-shirts around their waists and had bows and arrows and spears. He said that directing the men, whom he called the Kalenjin warriors, was another older man he knew. He said the man was more than 40 years old and spoke to the attackers as well as made hand signs. The witness identified him as number two on a list of pseudonyms the prosecution provided him. Lists of pseudonyms are provided to the witnesses who are testifying under protective measures in court to enable them name persons they may know well without revealing their own identity.

Witness 376 said that he later witnessed a group of young Kikuyu men surround a man who they suspected to be one of the Kalenjin warriors responsible for an earlier attack. He said that the suspected Kalenjin warrior was killed.

He also testified that he later lived in a camp for those displaced in the violence that was set up at the showground of Eldoret. He described the conditions in the camp as “pathetic.” He left the camp in May 2008 when the government began a program to move people displaced in the post-election violence back to their homes or resettle them elsewhere.

Much of the hearing Thursday was held in private session to allow the witness share information that would have otherwise identified him to the public. Ruto and Sang face three counts of crimes against humanity each for their alleged role in the violence that shook Kenya over five years ago.

 

2 Comments
  1. where does Ruto come in, in all these. The slogan was no RAILA no peace

  2. This article, like most writetn on Africa (by westerners) fails to grasp the complexities of the continent and reduces itself to the standard and simplistic analysis that is displayed here. What is that analysis?That analysis seeks to define Africa’s complex tribal societies into a simple good guy vs. bad guy paradigm. Ignoring (or maybe not recognizing) that very often, these conflicts are created, nurtured and under-taken by many forces at the same time. Shades of grey exist everywhere.The fact that 6.2 million Kenyans stood in line for up to 8 hours to vote for Uhuru and Ruto is totally lost on this author. However, those Kenyans who were most affected by the violence, understood that the story line was not as simple as good guy vs. bad guy. This complexity was something Yoweri Museveni also understood.The west, using it’s simplistic analysis, tried to force the Kenyans to vote for THEIR good guy (Raila Odinga) but the Kenyan people knew that Raila was not that good and they rejected this story line because they know (more than any other foreigner) what their country is about.The path to modernity is not paved with white lillies. It hasn’t been so for Africa and it hasn’t been so for the west just look at it’s violent history (WWI, WWII, brutal colonialism, The Iraq war where almost one million have been killed, The vietnam war, which led to the rise of Pol Pot, the Falklands war)So, who are you to lecture Africans when your own countries path to modernity is filled with rivers of blood?

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