Witness Recounts Ethnic Violence and Fear

A witness told the International Criminal Court (ICC) how he escaped nearly being killed at a road block by hiding his identity card when the trial of Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang resumed on Monday.

The trial of Ruto and Sang had adjourned on March 11 for a routine break. Ruto and Sang are each charged with three counts of crimes against humanity for their alleged roles in the violence that followed the December 2007 election.

Witness 508 began his testimony on Monday under a pseudonym, because Trial Chamber V (a) has granted him protective measures while in court to ensure his anonymity. The court made this decision following an application by the prosecution, which was argued by all sides at the start of Monday’s proceedings. There was a reference made to two incidents that involved the witness’ security, but the full details of what exactly they were took place in private session as did most of the submissions on whether to grant the witness protective measures. So no other details are available to the public.

The witness told Trial Chamber V (a) that when he approached a road block controlled by young Kalenjin men he hid his identity card and mobile phone in his socks and carried a hundred shillings note in his hand. He said when he reached the road block he was asked to present his identity card, but he told the young men it had been stolen. He said if he had given them his identity card they would have known he is Kikuyu from his name and he would probably have been killed. He said he also told them that his mobile phone had been stolen and all he had left was the hundred shilling note. He said they took his money and let him pass.

He also told the court he was the only person at that time heading back home to location 1, but there were many other people held up at the road block who were trying to go in the opposite direction to flee the violence which had started. He said this took place on December 31, 2007 or January 1, 2008. This would have been either a day or two after the announcement of the presidential results.

Earlier the witness had told the court he and other Kikuyu men fought back between 10 and 15 Kalenjin men who were trying to burn down someone’s house in the area he lived in. He said they threw stones at the Kalenjin men who had bows and arrows. He said the attackers were overwhelmed but they returned the next day and succeeded in burning the house.

The witness will continue his testimony on Tuesday.


  1. We have been told of the fighting in the Rift valley enough times. The waki report is full of details. I would like to hear real evidence of:
    1. The common Plan- as alleged at the confirmation hearings
    2. The actual involvement of the accused as alleged in the same forum
    3. In the name of transparency the accounts of money spent on witnesses should be disclosed to ascertain if it is an influencing factor in the evidence they give. If as has been stated, the prosecution requires financial records of the accused, it should be ready to be scrutinized by providing records that the defense may require. Allegations of inducements are flying around.

  2. God our almighty shall reveal the truth and the truth only that us Kalenjins did not plan for the post election violence and that it was only spontaneous. Period.

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