A witness stuck to her testimony to the International Criminal Court (ICC) that she saw Deputy President William Samoei Ruto hit the electoral commission chairman as presidential results to the December 2007 election continued to be tallied.
Witness 469 insisted that she saw this on television on December 29, 2007 even as Ruto’s lawyer, Leigh Lawrie, challenged her on this on Monday.
Ruto is on trial on three counts of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the violence that followed the announcement of the presidential results in the December 2007. During that election Ruto was a key leader of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party. He is being tried together with former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang, who is also facing three counts of crimes against humanity.
Lawrie played clips from two videos of news reports in which Ruto is seen addressing Samuel Kivuitu, the then chairman of the Electoral Commission of Kenya. In the clips Ruto is asking Kivuitu to allow an agent of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party get to the tallying centre in Nairobi to show that the result of a particular constituency Kivuitu was announcing was different from what was announced at the constituency level. In the clips, there are one or two rows of people between where Ruto is standing and where Kivuitu is seated.
When questioned about some of the individuals in the clips, Witness 469 said she recognised some of the political leaders and remembered seeing one of them on television on December 29, 2007. She, however, said the clips did not show what she saw that day. She is not the only witness to insist that they saw Ruto hit Kivuitu during the lead up to the announcement of the presidential results. In March, Witness 442 also made the same allegation, which was challenged by another of Ruto’s lawyers, David Hooper.
Earlier in the day, Lawrie also challenged the witness on something she said she heard on television on December 30, 2007. The witness had stated that she heard Raila Odinga, the presidential candidate for the ODM, say on television that if he was not declared the winner, the Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea will be joined by blood. Lawrie suggested to Witness 469 that she misunderstood what Odinga said at the time and what he was talking about was a tsunami, referring to a wave of support for the ODM. The witness insisted that she heard Odinga talk about the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea and blood.
At the start of the day’s proceedings the witness testified about a Kalenjin who provided shelter to Kikuyus and was threatened for doing so. Witness 469 said she learnt about this person in the camp for displaced people at the Eldoret showground.
She said his name came up when the government wanted the people living at the showground to return to where they came from. Witness 469 said that the people of Kimumu did not want their chief involved in helping them return home because he did not protect them when they were being attacked in January 2008. She said the representatives of the displaced people said they would rather deal with the Kalenjin person who had sheltered some of them. The rest of her testimony on the subject was in private session.
Lawrie finished her cross-examination later in the afternoon. Trial lawyer Lorenzo Pugliatti said he did not wish to re-examine the witness. Presiding Chile Eboe-Osuji asked about the next witness the prosecution and Pugliatti said that would be an expert witness who is on the way to The Hague. Pugliatti said he would be ready to testify on Wednesday.
Monday’s proceedings began in the afternoon because the courtroom where the trial is being held was used in the morning for a status conference for the trial of a Sudanese rebel leader, Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain.