A witness agreed with a defense lawyer’s assertion that a meeting where William Samoei Ruto was declared the spokesman of the Kalenjin was a forum where Ruto declared his intention to run for president in the 2007 elections.
On Tuesday, Herve Maupeu, a political scientist called in as an expert witness by the prosecution, had said that Ruto was named the Kalenjin spokesman at a meeting held in Eldama Ravine.
Ruto is standing trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) together with former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang. In the lead up to the 2007 elections Ruto was a member of parliament and key member of the Orange Democratic Movement. He became Kenya’s deputy president after last year’s election.
“Is it right the Eldama Ravine meeting was essentially a political statement by Ruto, where he was saying that ‘I am going to put myself forward in the coming elections’?” asked David Hooper, a lawyer for Ruto.
“Yes,” replied Maupeu during the trial hearing on Wednesday.
Hooper asked Maupeu a range of questions about Kenya’s political history stretching back to the early days of independence. Hooper asked specific questions about the federal nature of the constitution Kenya adopted at independence from Britain in 1963 and how the federal provisions of the constitution were changed over the years.
Ruto’s lawyer also asked Maupeu about how land was bought in the Rift Valley region after Kenya gained independence as well as the government’s policies and actions in relation to land in the Rift Valley in the 1960s and 1970s. Hooper asked additional questions about the opinion polls and the parliamentary and presidential results of the 2007 elections.
In the afternoon, Trial Chamber V(a) listened to submissions on whether Maupeu’s report to the prosecution should be admitted as evidence in the trial. Prosecution lawyer Lucio Garcia argued the report was relevant to the trial, had probative value, and Maupeu did not speak to the criminal responsibility of the accused or name individuals who may feature in the trial.
Hooper argued against the judges admitting the report as evidence because Maupeu addressed general issues and nothing specific. He said that expert reports in proceedings in other jurisdictions or international criminal tribunals have focused on a specific issue or area that the expert in question has personal knowledge about. Hooper said that the report Maupeu wrote depended on the opinions of others.
Caroline Buisman, who represents Sang, also objected to Maupeu’s report being admitted as evidence. Buisman argued that Maupeu’s report relied on other reports and documents that depended on hearsay and the defense had not been able to test the veracity of the statements in the those source documents.
The three judges of Trial Chamber V(a) conferred briefly, and then Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji said that they had agreed that Maupeu’s report be admitted as evidence.
Garcia then made a submission to have admitted as evidence two academic articles that are referred to in Maupeu’s report.
“These articles should be submitted on the truth of their contents,” argued Garcia. The articles in question were written separately by two political scientists, Gabrielle Lynch and Jacqueline Klopp.
Hooper and Buisman objected to the articles being accepted as evidence. After listening to the different submissions Trial Chamber V(a) declined to admit the articles as evidence.
Judge Eboe-Osuji said the prosecution’s assertion that the articles be accepted “on the truth of their contents is certainly not one we will be agreeable to.”
A new witness will testify on Thursday.