Witness Admits He Did Not Attend Meetings to Plan Post-Election Violence

A witness admitted to the International Criminal Court (ICC) that he was not present at two meetings where violence targeting Kikuyus was planned as he had previously told the prosecution.

Witness 658 made the admission under questioning from Karim Khan, the lead lawyer of Deputy President William Samoei Ruto. Khan was cross-examining him on the admission he first made to the prosecution in November this year that he was not at the two meetings he had told the prosecution about when he was interviewed in August 2010.

On Thursday, Witness 658 told the court a source told him about the meeting held at Sirikwa Hotel in Eldoret on September 2, 2007, retracting his previous statement to the prosecution that he was present at that meeting.

During his August 2010 interview with the prosecution, the witness said Ruto chaired the Sirikwa Hotel meeting and had stated Kalenjins should unite to defend themselves against the Kikuyu. Between November 10 and November 20 this year when Witness 658 was being prepared for his testimony, he informed the prosecution that he was not present at that meeting, and he only knew about it from a source. The source was not named in public on Thursday.

“I’m putting it to you that you told the prosecution in November that you lied and that you were not at that meeting that you described to the prosecution in 2010. Is that correct or not?” asked Khan.

“I didn’t say I lied. I said I get from source. There [is a] difference between getting from source and then lying” the witness replied.

Witness 658 is testifying in the ICC trial of Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang. Both men have been charged with three counts of crimes against humanity for their alleged roles in the violence that followed the December 2007 elections.

The witness also admitted he did not attend a meeting at Ruto’s home in Sugoi. Khan said that from evidence the prosecution disclosed to the defense the witness told investigators about the Sugoi meeting on August 8, 2010. At the time the witness said the meeting took place on September 2, 2007. Khan said that on June 6, 2011 the witness then changed the date of the meeting to November 2, 2007. Then during the preparation meetings held between November 10 and November 20 this year, the witness told the prosecution he was not at that meeting.

“You’ve told the prosecution just a few days ago that you were never at that meeting. Is that so?” Khan asked on Thursday.

“Perfect your honor,” the witness replied. He also told the court he had never been to Ruto’s home in Sugoi.

Some of the questioning on the planning meetings took place in private session where other details may have been touched on. In open court Khan asked the witness whether he agreed that his account of the meetings was used by the majority of Pre-Trial Chamber II to confirm the charges against Ruto. He mentioned in particular paragraphs 126 to 133 of the pre-trial chamber’s decision. Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji intervened before the witness could answer and told Khan he could make that point in arguments.

The particular paragraphs Khan referred to in Pre-Trial Chamber II’s confirmation of charges decision make reference to the statements of Witness 1 and Witness 8. It is likely the pseudonyms of the witnesses referred to in the confirmation of charges decision have been changed, but all the lawyers involved in the case would know the changes as do the judges.

Khan also questioned the witness on his December 3 testimony about the funeral of Lucas Sang, a former 1988 Olympic athlete. Khan played excerpts of the video of the funeral he told the court was obtained from Lucas Sang’s family. The excerpts Khan played were to challenge the witness on his testimony that a few people spoke at the funeral including Joshua arap Sang.

In his December 3 testimony, the witness said Joshua arap Sang had given his condolences to the family but also spoke on behalf of Ruto, who was not present. In the video, it is Joseph Kipchumba Kigen-Katwa who is seen reading a condolence message from Ruto. Kigen-Katwa leads Joshua arap Sang’s defense team.

When Khan tried to read into the record the transcript of the translation of what Ambassador Tabitha Seii had said in Kalenjin at the funeral, he was stopped by Judge Eboe-Osuji. The judge said there were at least three edits that were apparent in the excerpt, so it was not clear if all Seii had said was recorded on video. In his December 3 testimony, Witness 658 had said Seii had made inciting remarks, and on Thursday he expressed his reservations about whether the video showed the complete speech Seii gave.

Judge Eboe-Osuji held a brief discussion with his fellow judges Olga Herrera Carbuccia and Robert Fremr. The judge then announced that they had decided that Khan could no longer read the transcript into the record, but the transcript would be admitted as an exhibit as well as the video.

The afternoon session was conducted mostly in private session. Towards the end of the day, trial lawyer Lucio Garcia began his re-examination of the witness briefly in open session before the court returned to private session. When the court came out of private session, Judge Eboe-Osuji informed the witness that the lawyers finished questioning him, and he was discharged from testifying to the ICC.

Trial Chamber V(a) will hold a status conference on Friday to discuss its schedule for next year. Friday is the last working day of the ICC after which the court will be on recess until January 5, 2015.

30 Comments

  1. Kenya ICC cases have peoven to be chaos oh purpose and accident of in by foreign enemies of our beloveth soveriegn state. Prosecutor!…. Terminate case also. Kenya isonge mbele….. Our great motherland.

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  2. i feel offended by the fact that a great deal of anxiety, time, money and energy has to be painfully invested by the defence,of course with the accused’s reputation at stake, only to prove a prosecution witness maliciously untruthful at the end. when i listened to witness 658 during cross examination by the prosecution and how he confidently and boisterously described events i was assured that his testimony is solid and incriminating. But I am shocked by the way the Ruto defence has dismantled his highly blown testimony like a deck of cards. What is in the mind of a witness who lies between his teeth other than malice and hatred in the name of money?

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  3. why give a false testimony, to make somebody jailed for no reason? It is really bad.
    If indeed the witness is lying then he should be charged and jailed

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  4. Look at all these. It is like a video.It is like a movie. U can have a thousand witnesses but the truth is the truth.

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  5. Falsehood is like a seed planted in a hard ground. When it gets a little humid, it germinates, breaking compressed soil, moving aside small stones over it and maneuvering to the open. It will then, by its first leaves show the identity of the tree by its very botanical name.

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  6. Witnesses Should Take The Court Seriousely And The Habbit Of Recanting And Changing Statements Now And Then Should Be Discouraged At All Cost Especially A Highest Court On This Planet. This Witness No. 658 Thought That What He Stated Two Years Ago Is Not In Record When He Alledged That He Attended Two Violence Planning Meetings At Sirikwa Hotel And At Ruto’s Home Alloversudden To Deny The Said Allegations. This Should Be A Lesson To Other Witnesses Not Be Attracted By Materialisting Goodies Untile You Deceive The Whole World And Damaging Somebody’s Name.

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  7. Thanks very much Mr.Tom Maliti

    for your daily icc proceedings updates. I wish you a happy X mass and prosperous new year.

    .

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  8. “I didn’t say i lied. I said i get from source. There is a difference between getting from source and lying”… total fabrication the court is interested with factual truth in order to establish the legal truth.. bwana witness kwani hujawahi enda ata District magistrate court yawa????
    We are some how interested with ‘this source of your evidence’ (the KNHRC na OTP).

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  9. Now that witnesses have successfully relayed information they heard from other sources, the question now must be asked…
    1) Who are these sources?

    2) Why was the OTP unable to get hold of these “original sources”?

    3) How did the OTP miss the fact that their witnesses were infact not witnesses of anything of fact?

    4) What happened to the claims that there infact was a ‘network’ as was presented by the OTP. To date, no atempt has been made to show any such links…?

    5) And finally, how did a court determine there to be enough evidence to pursue a trial with such lack of evidence and heresay?

    As a Kenyan, it doesn’t matter anymore where the case is found for or against the defense, we know it was nothing bit a sham: a seemingly Hollywood-isc production of political spinsters that has plagued the world, to the detriment of innocent citizens!

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  10. The witnesses who have testified so far have demonstrated that civil societies n polical activies took advantage of 2007/08 violence to carry out their hiden agendas. The OTP should have conducted indipendent investigation without relying on them

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  11. Am sorry to say this, majority of civil societies and other such bodies are driven by financial gains not service to the society. I am made to understand there were two documents on PEV and The ICC has the doctored one, what a shame. To the victims, please note, if a wrong guy gets jailed while the culprit walks free, that will not be justice at all.

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  12. God do not forsake his children. i wonder where all these lies were cooked. Bensuda should recall ocampos words three from PNU and three from ODM. Just drop the cases to save face

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  13. Hear this….. ‘I get it from a source” as stated by disgraced witness no. 658. and infact to my surprise my fellow countrymen, the same false and commercially fabricated statements were used to hurriedly confirmed the charges against Ruto and sang by seemingly tired judges of pre-.trial chamber. the whole process is mockery of justice to victims and accused persons. finally who are this source ?. is it knhrc or otp ? God knows.

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  14. I do not know if anybody else noticed it. In the evidence in chief, the witness spoke confidently in very good English and displayed good memory of events and places.
    When it came to cross examination, his command of English departed him, his memory failed him several times, he also remembered that the story he gave in earlier interviews was untrue. “Fatigue”/coaching/or lying? Take your pick.

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  15. At the beginning of his evidence this witness was able to navigate very well and related so well with the coaching lessons he underwent during preparation to stand on the witness stand, but the memories of memorized verses vanished when the lid was removed by the defense lawyers the real person came out minus the package of untruth and proved to the world that no matter how you say,present,coached a lie remain a lie be it in Kenya or even when outside Kenya.The truth is now becoming obvious a prosecutor with a team of lying witnesses.

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  16. Sorry for the witness 658, in my culture it is said you say what you are told but finally you will say what you know so if it is money then you will live a bad life as your lies will always charge you. I pray the good charges can reconsider looking at this case and drop as it is a waste of time and intergrity of the court.

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  17. This is rubbish if you ask me. Africa is still under developed and we need to spend time and resources in worthwhile endeavours. I am not Kenyan and far from this and hence impartial. If the 2 men are guilty, let the prosecution and concerned parties prove it to the court (simple as that). The story of threatening of witness is nonsensical. If there is no singke Kenyan who can risk dying (worst case scenario) for the sake of Justice + truth, “so what now ?”. If this whole thing is just based on word of mouth, please divert the money and time to making a difference in a life of a child in Kenya or elsewhere. Why fly and pay lodging cost for lying witness and others if this is the case. Judges/ICC, this is an insult to your reputation and wisdom. Ou Puh..leez !
    ** Nothing found under your T&C’s and Private Policy **

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  18. This liar was lured was lots of cash. The losers are the victims because both the NGOs and prosecution knew all along the evidence presented was a fabrication and went ahead to give victims false hopes.

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  19. It has been lies all through….. Madan prosecutor let them free for Gods sake coz lies never changes to truth whatever circumstance..

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