A defense lawyer accused a prosecution witness of making up a fundraising event on New Year’s Eve 2007 during which prominent individuals spoke of evicting the Kikuyu from the Rift Valley.
On Wednesday, Witness 658 told the International Criminal Court (ICC) he did not make up the fundraising event he testified was held on December 31, 2007 at a place called Ziwa, which is about 37 kilometers north of Eldoret. On December 1, Witness 658 said a newly elected member of parliament, Fred Kapondi, and a prominent farmer in Uasin Gishu, Jackson Kibor spoke at the event and helped raise money.
The witness said in his testimony Kibor presented an envelope in which, he told other participants, was a contribution of 200,000 shillings from William Samoei Ruto. The witness also said Kapondi told the gathering that the Kalenjin should expel Kikuyus from Uasin Gishu District, and he would lead the Sabaot in expelling the Luhyas from the neighboring Trans Nzoia District.
“I’m putting to you, you are making up entirely your presence at Ziwa,” said Karim Khan, Ruto’s lead lawyer.
“You’re not true, your honor,” Witness 658 replied.
In response to a follow-up question from Khan, the witness said, “It’s not a creation, your honor, as you suggest.”
Witness 658 is testifying in the ICC trial of Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang. Both of them are charged with three counts of crimes against humanity for their alleged roles in the violence that followed the December 2007 election.
Khan then showed the witness some photos of the market in Ziwa where the witness said the fundraising event took place. Khan asked the witness to identify the café where he said he was seated outside as he followed what was happening at the fundraising event. The witness was unable to. Khan went on to get the witness to plot his movements on December 31, 2007 on a sketch of part of the wider Eldoret area. The sketch and the witness’s annotations were shown only to those in the courtroom and not the public. Khan’s questions to the witness on this map were asked in private session.
Earlier Khan asked the witness about the body of someone he said he saw on December 30, 2007. The individual was only identified as person number seven in open court. Khan showed the witness a receipt from Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital dated December 31, 2007 that showed person number seven was admitted that day in the hospital. He also showed the witness a burial permit and death certificate that showed person number seven died the same day. The documents were only shown to those in the courtroom and not broadcast to the public.
The witness did not question the authenticity of the documents, but he insisted he saw person number seven’s corpse on December 30, 2007. Khan asked the witness whether he could have been in Ziwa if person number seven died the same day of the fundraising event he had testified about.
“No, your honor. The person already died the previous day,” Witness 658 replied. Khan noted that the documents he presented had been provided by the prosecution as part of their disclosure to the defense.
Most of Wednesday’s proceedings were held in private session. Wednesday marks the tenth day Witness 658 has been on the stand, making him the prosecution witness who has testified the longest so far. He will continue testifying on Thursday.