A witness told the International Criminal Court (ICC) Joshua arap Sang often preached peace on Kass FM radio station before and during attacks that followed the December 2007 elections, but he also incited violence.
Witness 658 said on Thursday Sang deliberately injected negative messages into broadcasts of peace. The witness said this in response to a question from Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, who wanted to know whether it was the witness’s opinion Sang aired negative messages deliberately or was just expressing himself awkwardly.
Judge Eboe-Osuji’s question followed a series of questions that Caroline Buisman, Sang’s lawyer, asked the witness. She wanted to know whether he was sure that he had heard Sang incite Kalenjins against the Kikuyu on air or whether he had confused some of the words Sang had used. The witness was insistent that he was sure of what he heard while acknowledging most of what Sang broadcast was peace messages.
Sang is on trial at the ICC together with Deputy President William Samoei Ruto. They each face three counts of crimes against humanity for their alleged roles in the bloodshed that shook Kenya between December 2007 and February 2008.
In the afternoon session, Buisman asked Witness 658 about his testimony on Monday that Sang called on his fellow villagers to form road blocks after the presidential results were declared on December 30, 2007. Buisman challenged the witness that if Kikuyus in the area were to flee violence, they would head north to Kitale and not pass near the village the witness had named. He said that in his testimony he had only said Sang called on the youth to set up road blocks. He said he did not know whether such road blocks were set up or whether Kikuyus in the area had reason to flee their homes.
Buisman corrected the witness’s spelling of the village in question, Kipkeikei, instead of Kipkege as the witness had previously said. He accepted the correction. He also accepted Buisman’s statement that Sang’s home village is Seum, which is close to Kipkeikei. The main town to the north of the village is Kitale and about 70 kilometers south of Kipkeikei is Eldoret.
Throughout the day Buisman played excerpts from various broadcasts of Kass FM, concentrating on the peace messages that aired around the time of the post-election violence. The court heard peace messages from prominent Kalenjin leaders such as Ambassador Bethwell Kiplagat and General Lazaro Sumbeiywo, both of whom had previously mediated peace processes in Somalia and Sudan.
Buisman asked the witness whether he knew the messages had been prerecorded, and he answered he would not know if they had been broadcast live or prerecorded. At some point Buisman also asked him whether he was aware there was a ban on live broadcasts. He said he was aware, but he had no way of knowing whether what he heard in January 2008 was live or not. On Tuesday Witness 658 testified that between January 1 and 3, 2008 he heard Sang warn youths involved in attacks and controlling road blocks to retreat from particular places because the police had been deployed and ordered to use live bullets against them.
Witness 658 will continue testifying on Friday.