Witness Says He Made Up Meeting at Ruto’s Home

A witness told the International Criminal Court (ICC) he made up a meeting that was supposed to have taken place at the home of William Samoei Ruto in December 2007, weeks ahead of the general elections that year.

Witness 604 said on Friday he made up the meeting “to make my statement more reliable.” The witness changed the account he gave the prosecution when Ruto’s lawyer, Essa Faal, presented him with information that three people Witness 604 claimed were at the December 13, 2007 meeting were elsewhere when the meeting was supposed to have taken place at Ruto’s home. Faal told Witness 604 the defense was able to determine their location using data retrieved from the three individuals’ mobile phone records. On September 5, Witness 604 told the court he had been instructed by another prosecution witness to claim he had been at a meeting at Ruto’s home where attacks against Kikuyus were planned.

In December 2007, Ruto was a Member of Parliament seeking reelection. Today, he is Kenya’s deputy president. He is on trial facing three counts of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the bloodshed that followed the presidential poll of December 27, 2007. Ruto is on trial with former journalist Joshua arap Sang, who also faces three counts of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the December 2007-February 2008 violence.

Before Witness 604 was confronted with the information about the individuals he claimed were at the meeting in Ruto’s home, he was shown a video in which Ruto is seen addressing a group of young people. Faal then asked him whether he was familiar with Ruto’s home in Sugoi, a location outside Eldoret town. Witness 604 said he was. Faal asked him to describe it. The witness was unable to.

Faal then asked the witness whether he recognized the house visible in the background of the video. Witness 604 said he did not. Faal asked him whether he had ever been there. The witness said he did not think so.

“We say, Mr. Witness, that this is Honorable Ruto’s home in Sugoi. What do you say to that?” said Faal.

“I’m not sure,” Witness 604 replied.

The witness is one of a group of nine people the court has ordered to testify under subpoena, at the request of the prosecution, after they disavowed earlier statements supporting the prosecution case. The prosecution has sought to attack the credibility of the revised testimony, delivered via video link from Kenya, against a background of court concerns over witness tampering and intimidation.

The day’s questions began with Faal revisiting a fundraising event the witness had told the prosecution that he attended and Ruto presided over. Faal had questioned Witness 604 about the fundraising event on Wednesday. On Friday, Faal asked the witness about the master of ceremonies he claimed was at the event and the members of the board of governors present.

Faal showed the witness a June 18, 2007 entry in a school’s logbook that showed the person he said was principal was actually deputy principal of the school in question. The school is not being named in open court because it could identify the witness, so it is only referred to by the pseudonym, location D. Similarly, the person the witness said was the principal and master of ceremonies at the fundraiser is identified by the pseudonym, N-Bis. Faal read out the entry which stated person N-Bis had been transferred and his replacement was appointed after the board of governors met on June 18, 2007.

“Why did you tell the prosecution that person N-Bis was the principal?” asked Faal.

“I had told them that he was the deputy principal,” replied Witness 604.

A little later, Faal asked, “Did you in fact know that person N-Bis was no longer working at location D as of November 2007?” Faal was referring to the month witness had said the fundraising event took place.

“I didn’t know,” the witness said.

Faal then showed Witness 604 a letter from the Ministry of Education in which the appointments of the individuals the witness said were members of the board of governors is announced. The letter in question stated those individuals would serve as members of the board of governors of location D from April 1, 2008.

“Mr. Witness, why then did you tell the OTP [Office of the Prosecutor] that person L and M were chairman and vice chairman of the board during the harambee [fundraising event] of 19th November 2007?” Faal asked.

“I wasn’t sure of the board of governors of the school,” replied Witness 604.

A little later, Faal pursued the issue and asked, “You told the court that you weren’t sure of their positions in the board, is that what you said?”

“Yes,” the witness said.

“Essentially witness, you cooked it up, isn’t it?” Faal continued.

“Yes,” responded Witness 604.

Faal also questioned the witness about another rally he said Ruto attended and about the correct date candidates for various elective posts handed in their nomination papers to the Electoral Commission of Kenya in the lead up to the December 2007 general elections.

The day ended before Faal could conclude his questioning of Witness 604. He informed the court he would complete his questions in the morning session on Monday. Sang’s lead lawyer, Joseph Kipchumba Kigen-Katwa, also informed the court he would need only one session on Monday to question Witness 604. Senior trial lawyer Anton Steynberg informed the court that Witness 495 was next in line to testify and would ready to do so on Monday.

Friday’s proceedings began with another witness appearing before Trial Chamber V(a). Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji acknowledged that Witness 516 was appearing via video link in Nairobi with his lawyer. Judge Eboe-Osuji informed the witness he could not testify immediately because there was already another witness on the stand and another two witnesses were scheduled to testify next. The judge informed the witness that the Registry of the ICC also has procedures it has to follow before a witness testifies. Witness 516 was then excused.

On Thursday, the trial was unable to proceed because the video link with Nairobi, from where Witness 604 is testifying, was down. The link was back up on Friday, and proceedings went on without any hitches.

14 Comments

  1. If I am the judges I could terminate this case becz it look as waste of time listerning to lies.The otp didn’t do any investigation am saying so becz am victim n even if the judge rule I wil eve get justice.unless fresh investigation is done.

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    1. The otp ought to have done its work well , judges must terminate this cases Now! Shame on Ocambo. Icc preserve ua dignity n reputation and end these cases Now!

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  2. May God forgive this liars and the judges should take a bold step of terminating this case immediately coz its a waste of time and resources.

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  3. Whether case will be terminated or not, shame will be upon all kenyans wherever they are in this world, especially those who supoort Rutto and uhuru. It is true that people were killed and many others displaced untill now. Koffi Annan and his team collected evidence on who were behind those killings and sufferings from the victims far away before these guys were ellected, kenyans were given enough time to form a special court to deal with them before names were unrevealed publically but the same Kenyans suggested that names should be taken to ICC because were not trusting Kenya judicial system. Koffi Annan handed over name to ICC, soon after names were revealed, the same Kenyans made U turn simply because Uhuru Kenyatta and Rutta are from big tribes. How can you Kenyans embrace tribalism and still you talk about justice?. While Kenyans are supporting Joseph Konyi and other war loads who committed crimes in other part of the world to be brought to justice before ICC, it is not accepted by you Kenyans to bring your leaders, just to answers for their charges, you are talking so many bad things about ICC. Now I believe there is no justice in Kenya,Kenya is for the rich and for those from bid tribes, not for the poor from Kibera, the future of Kenya is very black.

    How can Kenya survive

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  4. You ask how Kenya can survive. Selective justice based on NGO evidence will not help Kenya. Instead it will antagonize communities.
    Every Kenyan knows the TWO individuals who appended their signatures to end hostilities and it STOPPED as they smiled. That would be a good starting point. We should get their account by way of statements and proper investigations. Promises of lavish lives abroad is a crime. I do not call that investigations; if true.

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  5. clearly zombie doesn’t know what goes on. for starters kofi annan and his team didn’t collect any evidence. it was a shoddy job done by waki and the crooked ngo individuals ….which has backfired. get facts

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  6. All the witnesses in this cases have not proved any of the accused to have been involved in post election violence at all.They were promised that they would be given the whole lavish life style,riches and all goodies of the western world if they implicated Hon Ruto and Sang to the violence that erupted due to the stolen election in kenya. It is a known fact in Kenya that some NGOS and civil societies coached, trained the Akambo witnesses.The icc court should as matter of the interest of kenyans terminate this cases.

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  7. Now that this witness has named those who procured and coached him. What happens to that gang? What are Kenyans expected to say about this? What is it in aid of?

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  8. I am not Kenyan, and am not ICC official either. What I can see here is that many Kenyans are against ICC despite the fact that the judgement is not over, why don’t you wait until the end, why are you judging ICC?. Kenya as a country is campaigning throughout Africa against ICC?. Please be honest, whether they are guilty or not everything will be fair before the court.

    The one who collected those evidence was Okampo before handing over those evidence to his successor Mrs. Fantou. I do not think both of them are against Uhuru and Rutto, why should ICC staff promise lavish lives to witnesses, is ICC against Kenya for what reasons. Why should Okampo from opposite part of the World fabricates evidences against Uhuru Kenyatta and Rutto from other part of the World?. why should our fellow African(Mrs Fatou) also emphasizes that they have case to answer before the court.

    Please my fellow Africans, lets be realistic, our continent is full of misery just because we do not like to hold people accountable, especially our leaders. Bosco Ntaganda is in ICC, Joseph Kony is wanted, Sulemani Makenge is on the list, many of us Africans either support them to be taken there, and actually Uganda government supports America to find and catch Kony, or we are quite. Funny enough, Rwanda which is very much against ICC, but supports FDLR leaders to be taken to the Hague. When the same ICC is against current leaders is not acceptable and is against Africa.

    Please let ICC do its work, we are sure if they are not guilty they will be free, but if you kenyans, either as people or as government, going to do anything which will in one way or another either delay or lead to unfair justice, then Kenya will not remain united, Kenya will not remain peaceful any more.

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  9. Justice has been dead for generations now. ICC is a court of law not a court of justice. In law you get winners and loosers. Bensouda has already been overlapped(if it was a race). We love Uhuru and Ruto thatswhy we want tthem free. Most of all we in Kenya know who truly perpetrated the violence. We know them collectively as Kenyans znd they are not at the ICC.
    let our boys rest and ask retired president Kibaki and Raila to brief the world on what happened. They were the once who had something to win or loose from the violence.

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  10. I worked at the TJRC and I saw similar initiatives of evidence planting on the same issues, noone has ever asked but I have a story

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  11. Definition/interpretation of terms is crucial for any cause of action.

    Tanzania’s Nyerere corrupted Socialism as an Ideology, coming up with ‘African Socialism’ fashion to enforce sharing of what was not there in the first place; resulting in general under development and widespread poverty.

    Likewise legal experts at the Hague based court believe ‘bearing the greatest responsibility’ does not of necessity apply to highest ranking political moguls, whom we all agree can order ignition of violence much as they can switch it off at a whim.
    If that is not true, why would general disorder dry off the moment two personalities put pen to paper and agree to share in equal measure?

    Back to Nyerere. Socialism is a universal concept. There is neither Africa, European or Asian Socialism. Concepts are universal.

    To the legal fraternity, ‘The greatest responsibility’ to me has only one meaning. The moment we accept that, we shall succeed in unlocking the truth even from a laguna falsehood.

    Reply

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