A defense lawyer has questioned the motive of a prosecution witness for testifying in the International Criminal Court (ICC) trial of Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang.
Shyamala Alagendra, who represents Ruto, asked Witness 800 on Friday whether at one point he had told the Office of the Prosecutor he would testify against her client in exchange for permanent relocation and an improved life outside Kenya.
Witness 800 replied that on, “Several occasions I have said I will not be safe to be in risk areas as I testify.”
Alagendra asked him again whether he had never asked for permanent relocation and the witness replied, “No, it has never been my intention to use this case to improve my life.”
On Thursday, Witness 800 had testified that he had been frustrated with the ICC’s protection programme. He is testifying against Ruto and Sang who are on trial on three counts of crimes against humanity each for their alleged roles in violence that wracked Kenya after the December 2007 presidential poll.
Leading up to the issue of whether the witness had ever asked to be permanently relocated, Alagendra also questioned Witness 800 about a theft he reported to the court’s Victims and Witnesses Unit (VWU) that occurred in July 2013. Alagendra referred to a prosecution investigator’s report dated July 9, 2013 in which the witness is said to have told the VWU that he was mugged outside a shop and his attackers took 2,000 shillings he had on him and three mobile phones.
“Sir, the truth is that such an incident did not happen, am I correct?” Alagendra asked.
“You are very wrong,” replied Witness 800.
“The VWU paid you a surprise and they discovered there were no phones that were taken from you, is that correct?” asked Alagendra a little later.
“Not correct,” replied the witness. The testimony on this issue continued in private session. When the hearing returned to open session, Alagendra asked the witness why he did not report the incident to the police. He said could not do so because he was not supposed to do anything that could lead to him being identified at the location he was.
“Sir, were you also thinking of asking for compensation for the three phones?” Alagendra asked. The witness answered no.
“And were you also going to use it (the mugging) to create the impression that you were also in danger even in this protected location in Africa and use it to get permanent relocation to Europe or America or any other country of your choice? Is that what you were doing?” asked Alagendra.
“No,” responded Witness 800. After this line of questioning, the rest of the morning’s and most of the afternoon’s proceedings were held in private session.
Towards the end of the afternoon session Alagendra asked the witness about the referendum that took place in Kenya in 2005. She then asked about the 64 Stadium in Eldoret and whether he attended a rally there during the campaigns of that year. The witness said he did not remember. Alagendra said she was asking him about the 64 Stadium because in testimony earlier in the week he had said he attended a rally there in 2007.
Alagendra then played parts of a video taken during one of the referendum campaigns of 2005 and asked him to identify some of the leaders. The witness identified them as Ruto, Kenya’s current President Uhuru Kenyatta, and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga. She then asked him to identify the venue where the rally was taking place. The witness said he could see it is a stadium but it was difficult to say which stadium it was since there was no sign identifying it. He also said the canopy and stand in the video resembled those of other stadiums in Kenya. The day’s proceedings ended at this point.
Witness 800 will continue testifying on Monday.