Court Admits Into Evidence Kenyan Intelligence Reports

Trial judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) have admitted into evidence Kenyan intelligence agency reports and a hospital casualty summary in the trial of Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang.

The judges, however, said on Tuesday that the reports of officers of the National Security Intelligence Service are being entered into evidence purely for background purposes. Trial Chamber V(a) made the decisions after hearing submissions from the prosecutor in support of the documents being admitted into evidence and opposing arguments from Ruto’s and Sang’s lawyers.

David Hooper for Ruto and Caroline Buisman for Sang did not oppose the intelligence reports being treated as purely background material, but they expressed concern that the prosecution could use the documents as way of introducing evidence through the backdoor that backs the charges against their clients. Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji assured the defense the judges are mindful of their concerns.

The hospital casualty summary that was introduced into evidence was prepared by the medical officer in charge of Nandi Hills Hospital. Nandi Hills is one of the areas covered in the charges against Ruto and Sang. The two are on trial for their alleged roles in the violence that shook Kenya after the December 2007 presidential elections. They each face three counts of crimes against humanity.

The intelligence reports and the hospital casualty summary were presented to the Commission of Inquiry into the Post-Election Violence, a Kenyan government-appointed investigation into the bloodshed between December 2007 and February 2008. Witness 247, who has been on the stand since Monday, had confirmed to the court that the documents were the same ones presented to the commission when it conducted its inquiry in mid-2008. Witness 247 is a former staff member of the commission who testified in public but whose name was not given.

Trial lawyer Alice Zago also sought three other documents be entered into the court’s record. Zago, however, did not ask for them to be entered as evidence, so they were simply marked for identification. The documents were an update on post-election violence, a status report on internally displaced persons, and a statement of a former district commissioner of Uasin Gishu District. The source of the update and the status report were not read out in public.

After this exercise was concluded, Sang’s lead defense lawyer Joseph Kipchumba Kigen-Katwa briefly cross-examined Witness 247. Kigen-Katwa’s questions focused on the chain of custody of material and documents presented to the Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence, especially after it wound up its affairs.

Witness 247 said he did not what happened to the documents after the commission handed them to former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and the African Union office in Nairobi that was working with Annan. Witness 247 did say that he did not see any of the documents after his time with the commission until last week when the ICC prosecution showed him some of them. He said he could confirm that they were the documents he handled while working for the commission.

Annan was appointed by the African Union in January 2008 to mediate an end to the violence that had engulfed much of Kenya at the time. He worked together with former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa and former Mozambican Cabinet Minister Graca Machel. The three made up the AU Panel of Eminent Persons that continued to monitor the implementation of the agreements signed to end the Kenyan crisis. They did this until the election of a new government last year.

After Kigen-Katwa’s brief cross-examination, Hooper said he did not have any questions for the witness. Zago said she did not wish to re-examine the witness. The court then adjourned for the day.

Witness 613 is scheduled to testify on Wednesday.