Defense Lawyer Plays Peace Messages from Sang Aired on Kass FM During Violence

A lawyer for former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang played recordings of Sang advocating peace in January 2008 to counter witness testimony at the International Criminal Court (ICC) that Sang incited people during that time.

Joseph Kipchumba Kigen-Katwa also played on Monday video clips of news reports on the Kenyan government’s ban on live broadcasts as violence erupted in the country following the December 2007 presidential election.

Witness 442 said she did not hear Sang’s peace messages because on the days Kigen-Katwa said they were broadcast, she was trying to flee the violence in Kapsabet area. She, however, recognized the voice in the recordings as that of Sang.

Last week, the witness told the court Sang said in January 2008 on Kass FM, a Kalenjin language station, the work had been done properly, but there were areas where work remained. Witness 442 said she understood Sang to be referring to the attacks in the Rift Valley area that targeted non-Kalenjins.

On Monday, Kigen-Katwa told the court the two clips he played were broadcast on January 1 and January 4, 2008. The January 1, 2008 three-minute clip had Sang pleading for peace, according to an English language translation of the broadcast that Kigen-Katwa read out in court for Witness 442 to authenticate. The witness, who is Kikuyu but understands Kalenjin, confirmed the translation Kigen-Katwa read out was correct.

The January 4, 2008 clip that Kigen-Katwa read out had Sang calling on people to remove the road blocks in the Rift Valley area saying they were preventing others from getting to the hospital, among other things. Kigen-Katwa read an English translation of the broadcast that Witness 442 told the court was correct.

Later in the day, when Kigen-Katwa applied to the court to have the audio clips admitted as evidence, the prosecution opposed it. Trial lawyer Lara Renton said the recordings had not been independently authenticated nor could their integrity be ascertained. Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji ordered that they be marked for identification only. He also asked Kigen-Katwa to make submissions on the issue at a later date because this is not the first time the defense and prosecution have differed on whether audio material presented by Sang’s legal team can be admitted as evidence.

Kigen-Katwa played in court video clips of several news reports about a ban on live broadcasts that the Kenyan government imposed on December 31. He asked the witness about this ban, and she said she did not know about it. He also asked her whether she was aware that because of the ban Kass FM broadcast mainly music and peace messages in January 2008. Witness 442 said Kass FM continued its regular broadcasts.

At one point Witness 442 complained about the Swahili interpreters. The witness is testifying in Swahili, and Kigen-Katwa was asking her questions in English. She complained about the interpreters when Kigen-Katwa was reading to her the English transcripts of the video clips he played in court. The witness said the translation she received of a question Kigen-Katwa asked was whether she had ever heard one of the people in the video speak. She said, however, she thought Kigen-Katwa meant to ask her whether his reading of the transcript of what someone said in the video was what she heard played. Kigen-Katwa repeated his question, and she confirmed the transcript was correct.

Sang is facing three counts of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the violence that followed the December 2007 elections. Also on trial is Kenyan Deputy President William Samoei Ruto, who is facing three counts of crimes against humanity.

Witness 442 will continue to testify on Tuesday.

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