A defense lawyer at the International Criminal Court (ICC) told a witness three times that he doubted she listened to the radio station Kass FM in 2007 or 2008, and each time she countered that she did.
Joseph Kipchumba Kigen-Katwa challenged Witness 442 on Tuesday on the veracity of her earlier testimony when he presented in court transcripts of two Kass FM broadcasts from the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC’s) monitoring service.
The BBC has a service that monitors selected media outlets across the world and produces summaries of what it monitors. Kigen-Katwa’s client, Joshua arap Sang, used to be a prominent presenter of Kass FM, a Kalenjin language station. Sang is facing three counts of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the violence that followed the December 2007 presidential election. His co-accused, Kenyan Deputy President William Samoei Ruto, is also facing three counts of crimes against humanity.
Kigen-Katwa read out a BBC monitoring service report of a February 4, 2008 broadcast of Kass FM in which Sang is reported to be calling on people to remain calm and not to leave their homes unless they really need to. He asked the witness whether she heard this broadcast at the time to which she replied she had not.
“I put it to you that you never used to listen to Kass FM because it broadcast from 6 am to 10 am on every morning of the week, and not eight to nine as you said, isn’t it?” Kigen-Katwa asked the witness.
“No,” replied Witness 442.
The witness then went on to question the transcript Kigen-Katwa had read because according to her by early February 2008 most of the violence in North Rift and neighboring areas had stopped.
Kigen-Katwa read out another transcript from BBC monitoring service of a January 24, 2008 broadcast of a Kass FM interview with the then United States Ambassador to Kenya, Michael Ranneberger. Sang conducted the interview. Kigen-Katwa asked the witness whether she heard the interview at the time. She said she had not.
Sang’s lawyer then asked her whether she saw Sang with Ranneberger at the Eldoret showground when they went to see the people who had sought refuge there.
“I think at the time Ranneberger came, he came with many people. I don’t know whether Sang was there,” the witness replied. “I saw Ranneberger and we were interested in what Ranneberger had to say about our lives. Even Citizen [station] was there. It was not just Kass FM that was there.”
“Are we to understand you to be saying that there were so many people that you did not see Sang?” asked Kigen-Katwa.
“I don’t know whether Sang was there. I didn’t see him,” Witness 442 replied.
“The only reason you could not have seen Sang with Ranneberger is because you were not at Eldoret showground,” Kigen-Katwa told the witness.
“I don’t know how I can answer,” the witness replied, saying she wished she could ask Kigen-Katwa a question. Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji told the witness she could not ask him a question. Judge Eboe-Osuji, however, assured her that when Kigen-Katwa challenges her credibility as a witness she will have the opportunity to answer and offer a brief explanation.
“He’s [Kigen-Katwa’s] saying the reason that you did not see Sang come to the showground with Ranneberger is because you were not at the showground. Do you agree with that?” Judge Eboe-Osuji then asked the witness.
“No. I disagree with him,” she replied.
In the afternoon, the judges allowed an audio recording of a December 29, 2007 broadcast of Kass FM to be entered as an exhibit. The judges made this conditional on Sang’s legal team calling the chief executive of Kass FM to testify when the defense presents its case. Kigen-Katwa presented in court a January 8, 2014 affidavit sworn by the station’s chief executive that the recordings of Kass FM broadcasts presented in court are authentic. The prosecution has objected each time Kigen-Katwa has sought to enter into evidence Kass FM recordings, arguing that they have not been independently authenticated and their integrity is not confirmed.
At the end of the day’s proceedings, trial lawyer Lara Renton conducted her re-examination of Witness 442 in private session, concluding this latest session of the trial of Sang and Ruto. Their trial is scheduled to resume on March 31.