A witness told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that at one point he became so frustrated with how his protection officers were treating him he began discussions with an individual who offered him money to retract the statement he had given to the prosecution.
Witness 800 said on Thursday he was called by someone only identified in open court as person number 19 at a place he had been relocated to outside Kenya. He said person 19 told him about an offer from another individual – identified as person number seven – but the witness would have to return to Kenya to be given details. The witness told the court he returned to Kenya and met person seven and person 19. The details of what they discussed were given in private session.
However, before the court went into private session to enable the witness to speak in detail about the time he considered recanting his statement to the prosecution, senior trial lawyer Anton Steynberg asked him why he considered the offer by person seven.
Witness 800 said the allowances his family received were not sufficient. He said he told officials of the ICC about this, but they took too long to get back to him.
“Other officers on the ground also were saying that I had no right to demand for anything at that moment because I had not signed a memorandum of understanding between me and the court. So it became very hard for me to get my complaints addressed,” Witness 800 said.
He said he used to pay insurance for his children, which he was no longer able to because he was no longer earning an income, and he was in a protection program of the ICC. He said he used to make the insurance payment every month. The witness also said there was a person he used to pay for work done at his home in Kenya, and he was no longer able to make those payments once he joined the ICC protection program.
Earlier Witness 800 also said that person 19 had visited the location he lived in to approach another witness, who was only identified as person number eight. Witness 800 said that person 19 had been sent by person seven to get the other witness to recant their statement to the prosecution.
The rest of Witness 800’s testimony on the offer by person seven and related matters was given in private session. Steynberg concluded his examination-in-chief of Witness 800 in private session. During the mid-morning session, Shyamala Alagendra, who represents Deputy President William Samoei Ruto in this trial, began her cross-examination of the witness.
Ruto is on trial at the ICC on three counts of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the violence that followed the December 2007 election. His co-accused is former journalist Joshua arap Sang, who also faces three counts of crimes against humanity.
Throughout the trial, there have been numerous allegations witness interference. In late 2013 and early this year it was revealed a number of prosecution witnesses were unwilling to go to court to testify, and some of these witnesses received threats or bribes that resulted in their withdrawal from cooperation with the prosecution. The trial chamber has since subpoenaed nine of these witnesses to testify.
Today, Alagendra began asking Witness 800 about his conversations with staff of the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) from his initial contact with them on October 8, 2012 to just before he began his testimony. She sought to know from him whether after his formal interview with OTP staff between October 25 and October 29, 2012 the only subjects he talked about to them about were witness interference and his security. The witness said he remembers having many conversations with OTP staff after October 2012, but he could not recall the details.
Witness 800 was then asked about two affidavits he signed. Alagendra asked him to confirm whether in those affidavits he did not recant his statements to the prosecution making allegations against Ruto and Sang. The witness said he did not recant his statements to the prosecution in those affidavits.
For the rest of the day, the witness testified in private session.
Witness 800 will continue his testimony on Friday.