Defense lawyer challenges witness on veracity of his testimony

Defense lawyer Karim Khan challenged a witness about his testimony at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the past days, asking whether it was all false.

Khan made the challenge on Thursday after confirming from Witness 356 that between January 6 and 8 this year and again on January 14 he read through the transcripts of his interviews with the Office of the Prosecutor. Khan is the lead lawyer for Deputy President William Samoei Ruto, who is on trial on three counts of crimes against humanity.

Khan put it to the witness that “the reason you expressed such interest in getting access to your transcripts was because you are trying to remember a false story rather than recall a true story.”

“It is not true, your honor,” Witness 356 answered.

Khan also challenged the witness on whether he was correct in telling the court earlier that Koitalel arap Samoei, who was a leader of the Kalenjin in the early twentieth century, was actually the king of the Kalenjin. The witness insisted that his version of Kalenjin history was accurate.

Ruto’s lawyer continued his questioning of Witness 356 in private session for the rest of the afternoon. Khan began his questioning of the witness after Joseph Kipchumba Kigen-Katwa concluded his cross-examination at the start of the afternoon session.

Earlier on Thursday Kigen-Katwa played audio recordings for Witness 356 to identify and confirm whether he had heard those particular broadcasts of Kass FM or Citizen TV. Kigen-Katwa also dwelt quite some time on Witness 356’s recollection of when the idea of a Kalenjin Council of Elders originated and when first council was formed.

Witness 356 had said the day before that the idea was mooted before 2007, but he could not remember when the Kalenjin Council of Elders was formed. The witness had said in court that Joshua arap Sang, a co-accused of Ruto, had spoken on his Kass FM morning show about the council before it was formed. Kigen-Katwa is Sang’s lawyer.

Kigen-Katwa played a recording of a broadcast of the formation of the Kalenjin Council of Elders and the resolutions that were adopted at that function. He said that the recording was dated September 18, 2009. The witness said that he had heard that particular broadcast, but he could not remember when it took place.

Witness 356 will continue with his testimony on Friday.