Ruto and Sang Trial Adjourns Without any Clarity on Whether Witness 727 Testified

It remains unclear whether Witness 727 appeared or testified last week before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the trial of Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang.

The lack of clarity is because all the deliberations Trial Chamber V (a) held with the different legal teams were entirely closed to the public, and there has been no official communication on what happened last week in court.

A lawyer for Witness 727, Professor Goran Sluiter, declined to respond to questions on whether his client appeared before Trial Chamber V (a) or testified.

“Unfortunately, in the interests of our client we cannot comment on the actual developments,” Sluiter said in an e-mail on Tuesday to the International Justice Monitor.

This week Trial Chamber V (a) had been scheduled to hold hearings through Wednesday. That changed on Monday afternoon. The ICC’s online calendar, which shows trials scheduled for the current week, changed on Monday afternoon to reflect that there would be no hearings. So far there has been no official communication about this change.

When the trial of Ruto and Sang resumed last week, Witness 727 was scheduled to testify via video link. The court’s calendar showed last week that the hearings were scheduled to continue until Wednesday this week. The witness was expected to testify during this period after the chamber ordered in February that he do so.

Trial Chamber V (a) sat for each day last week but as of Wednesday the witness had not testified. The chamber held sittings on Thursday and Friday as well, but it is unclear if the witness appeared before it on those days.

When a witness testifies but the hearing is closed to the public, the court’s public affairs unit will usually issue a statement to the media explaining that it will not be circulating any audio-visual material of the proceedings because the hearing was held in private or closed session. In the case of Witness 727, the unit issued one such a statement on Monday last week. For the rest of the week the unit did not issue any statements.

On Tuesday last week, Witness 727’s lawyers issued a statement saying he was in hiding after a Dutch court issued an order requiring him to appear before the ICC in line with Trial Chamber V (a)’s order. It is unclear whether the witness is still in hiding.

Depending on what transpired in court, Trial Chamber V (a) may issue new orders. What happens next in the Ruto and Sang trial will become known after the Spring recess. The ICC goes on its Spring recess from Thursday until April 13. During the recess there will be no hearings.

So far 29 prosecution witnesses have testified in the trial of Ruto and Sang, who face charges for their alleged roles in the violence that followed the December 2007 presidential poll. Ruto and Sang each face three counts of crimes against humanity. Witness 727 is not the only witness Trial Chamber V (a) has ordered be compelled to appear before it. Last year, the chamber issued similar orders for at least nine other witnesses. Of those only four have testified to date.

17 Comments

  1. Which clause in law provides that a witness is followed everywhere,compelled to prolong a rotten underbelly no wonder why some are dying mysteriously.

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  2. I doubt if there is any such clause, but a true witness who speaks the truth from his/her heart should not fear. But the witness driven by the stomach and lies should really fear because the stomach will never be full and lies will give birth to eternal condemnation. Maybe this witness has repented and moved on.

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  3. Why should someone fear to testify if trully what he/she stands by justice.Why should a witness be apprehended everywhere In order to force him/her to testify? It is only turning the life if the witness in to a difficult one.What clause of law will be used In forcing a witness to speak the truth? he/she might be forced to speak but she/he will only speak what he/she wants to say but not what otp may want.

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  4. The truth will always last forever,but the lifespun of folsehood is usually very short.And so,that is why the witness has faild to appear before the cort inorder to testify.

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  5. We knew all along that nothing will come out of Kenyan ICC cases and nothing ever will because they were all drummed up charges.If conviction will be forced onto the duo it will be certain that it is political and serves other interests other than those of the victims of PEV.The world knew the eruption of violence was spontaneous as a result of justice denied in a fraudulent election process.And the world instead of reconciling Kenyans and advocating for a free and democratic election process they on the contrary fanned the fires of hatred and suspicion in our lovely country.The current court process still does the same.They are not looking for justice here at this courts.If they have resorted to forcing witness then what do you expect out of it?

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  6. nothing was planned why are this people really disturbing and wasting time were there only kalenjin who fought the forty three tribes. That is a political game terminate the case please we need peace

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  7. I join Mr Rotich and other sound-minded and focused Kenyans in registering my doubt that the icc is on any reasonable course to go chasing after a witness to testify where the said may have nothing substantial to put forward, drop this case!

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  8. If you went out to plough with oxen, at times one of them refuses to play along and decides to go aground.
    You will be adjudged wise in you called off the day’s work.

    The opposite is true: if you decide to carry on, even pending over to ‘teeth’ the ox up for not conforming,
    you are adjudged foolish since the ox may arise alright but still refuse to draw the plough!

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  9. am not a lawyer nor a judge,after doing mi investigation on kenyen election i have came to realize violence was not planned but was encouraged by,political diffrnces,tribalism and corruptn thats why when hon kibaki and raira shakes hands we enjoyed peace.

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  10. Witness and evidence must be nothing but sincere accounts of what transpired.Hiding depicts a sinister scheme either way.

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  11. Tis case shud b dropped with an immediate effect. We ar tired of fake/bribed witness bought to blackmail our leadas.

    Reply

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