A defense lawyer challenged Witness 743 about a fundraising event during which he alleged William Samoei Ruto called for the eviction and killing of Kikuyus from the Rift Valley months ahead of the December 2007 presidential election.
Ruto’s lawyer, Shyamala Alagendra, questioned the witness on Thursday about an October 15, 2007 fundraising event held at an unnamed school. During the event, Ruto was alleged to have also helped raise money for the school and campaigned for the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party.
In the lead up to the 2007 elections Ruto was a key ODM leader and was also seeking reelection to the National Assembly. Today he is Kenya’s deputy president. Ruto is on trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) with former journalist Joshua arap Sang. Both face three counts of crimes against humanity for their alleged roles during the bloodshed the followed the December 2007 presidential poll.
Alagendra told Witness 743 that during a series of interviews with the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) between 2010 and 2014 he gave four different accounts of what Ruto purportedly said. Alagendra then added that the witness in his testimony in court gave three different accounts of what Ruto is alleged to have said during the October 15, 2007 fundraising event.
“Your testimony that Mr. Ruto called for eviction of Kikuyus, and he called for Kikuyus to be killed; that testimony of yours before this court Mr. Witness is a complete fabrication. Do you agree with that sir?” asked Alagendra.
“Your honor, no,” replied Witness 743.
Following on that line of questioning, Alagendra asked a few hours later, “I put it to you sir that on 15th of October Mr. Ruto was not at that school. Do you accept that?”
“No, your honor,” the witness responded.
Alagendra continued to say that on October 15, 2007, Ruto was in Nairobi at the Kenyatta International Conference Center (KICC) with ODM leader Raila Odinga. The witness said it was possible Ruto was at KICC in the morning on that day and attended the fundraising on the same day because it took place in the evening.
The rest of Thursday’s proceedings were conducted in private session. Similarly, Wednesday’s proceedings were entirely in private session, which is why the International Justice Monitor did not report on them.
Witness 743 concluded his testimony in private session after being re-examined by senior trial lawyer Anton Steynberg. This information is as per the schedule that Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji stated in the afternoon, repeating what he had said on previous days that the chamber wanted to conclude with Witness 743 on Thursday.
It is unclear which witness will testify next. Trial Chamber V(a) held a status conference in private session at the end of Thursday’s proceedings to discuss the matter.