International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

What Next, For the Victims of Kenya’s Post-Election Violence?

Please find below a commentary written by Emily Kenney, a consultant on transitional justice at UN Women. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

On April 5, 2016, Trial Chamber V of the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided by majority to terminate the case against William Samoie Ruto and Joshua Arap Sang. The defendants had been accused of crimes against humanity in relation to Kenya’s 2007-2008 post-election violence. While the ICC may never determine the identity of those responsible for these crimes (the Ruto and Sang decision is currently open for appeal, and the ICC’s investigation in Kenya is still technically ongoing), there is no doubt that the … Continue Reading

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Answers Needed in Eldoret

Elizabeth Evenson is a senior international justice counsel at Human Rights Watch. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

John Kituyi, a veteran journalist and editor of the Kenyan Mirror Weekly newspaper, was murdered on April 30 as he walked home from work. The Committee to Protect Journalists reported that unidentified assailants beat Kituyi severely. He later died in Eldoret Hospital.

Kituyi’s family, fellow journalists, and human rights activists in Eldoret have linked his killing to a recent article about the case against Deputy President William Ruto and the former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang before the International Criminal Court (ICC). Ruto and Sang are facing charges stemming from brutal … Continue Reading

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Who are the Eight Witnesses Unwilling to Testify in the Trial of Ruto and Sang? – Part 3

This is the third part of a three-part article on the witnesses the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecution is seeking to be compelled to testify in the trial of Kenyan Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang. This final part looks at if the witnesses were to testify whether such testimony would advance the prosecution’s case.

Before the eight witnesses withdrew, Karim Khan, Ruto’s lead defense lawyer, asked the court to order three of them to testify at the start of the trial. Khan’s application was supported by Sang’s lawyer, Joseph Kipchumba Kigen-Katwa. Khan wanted Witness 15, Witness 16, and Witness 336 to be part of a group of eight witnesses he considered important to start … Continue Reading

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Who are the Eight Witnesses Unwilling to Testify in the Trial of Ruto and Sang? – Part 2

This is the second part of a three-part article on the witnesses the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecution is seeking to be compelled to testify in the trial of Kenyan Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang. This part looks at the circumstances surrounding the withdrawal of the witnesses from the prosecution case.

Some of the witnesses simply cut off all communication with the Office of the Prosecutor. Others recanted their testimony. Others yet had Kenyan lawyers notify the prosecution they are withdrawing from the case.

These witnesses have had to deal with all sorts of pressures from being away from home to being offered bribes to being threatened. In the case of one witness, someone they … Continue Reading

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Who are the Eight Witnesses Unwilling to Testify in the Trial of Ruto and Sang? – Part 1

This is the first part of a three-part article on the witnesses the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecution is seeking to be compelled to testify in the trial of Kenyan Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang. This part looks at who the witnesses are and what they were expected to testify about.

International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has said that the eight prosecution witnesses unwilling to testify in the trial of Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang are insider witnesses. This is ICC-speak for witnesses who make allegations that link an accused person to the crimes they are alleged to have committed.

Insider witnesses are typically expected to testify about … Continue Reading

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Witness Protection Measures: What’s Happening in the Ruto and Sang Trial is Not Unique

At the ongoing trial of Kenya’s deputy president, William Ruto, and former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang at the International Criminal Court (ICC), the drill is now well established. When the court decides to protect the identity of a witness, a screen goes down on the public gallery; if there is a risk that the testimony will expose the identity of the witness, the proceedings are entirely closed. If the session remains open to the public via video, the face of the witness is disguised with pixelation, the voice distorted.

So far all but one of the 13 witnesses at the Ruto and Sang trial, which opened on September 10, 2013, has taken the stand with their identity cloaked from the … Continue Reading

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Poll: Kenyans Rank ICC Process as the Least Important Problem Facing Kenya

In a new opinion poll, Kenyans have ranked the International Criminal Court (ICC) process involving the country’s president, deputy president, and a former radio journalist as the least important of the problems facing Kenya.

On March 4, independent polling company Ipsos Synovate released the poll, which said that only one percent of respondents expressed that “the leadership wrangles due to the ICC cases” was the most pressing problem facing Kenya. This is a one percentage point decline from a November 2013 poll Ipsos Synovate conducted when two percent of the respondents said that the ICC cases were the most pressing problem facing Kenya.

The difference between this latest poll and the November 2013 one is within the margin of error, which is plus … Continue Reading

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Prosecutor withdraws seven witnesses in Kenyatta case in past year

The International Criminal Court’s (ICC’s) prosecutor has withdrawn at least seven witnesses in the case against President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta over the past year because the witnesses fear testifying, they have recanted their earlier statements to investigators, or for other unspecified reasons.

Following the withdrawal of one witness early in 2013, the prosecution had planned to call 30 witnesses in total in Kenyatta’s trial, which is scheduled to start on February 5. This is what the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) had indicated in July last year in a confidential annex to an application notifying the court of the prosecution’s intention to withdraw three witnesses at the time. The total number of witnesses was made public during a status conference on … Continue Reading

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The place where politics and law collide: the Appeals Chamber’s decision on Ruto’s motion for excusal from trial

Dear Readers – Please find the below article written by Leah Campbell, a former Associate Legal Officer at the ICTY, currently working as an Associate Political Affairs Officer at the UN Department of Political Affairs. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Open Society Justice Initiative or UN Department of Political Affairs.

Late last month, the International Criminal Court (ICC) Appeals Chamber overturned the Trial Chamber’s decision to allow Kenya’s Deputy Vice President, William Samoei Ruto, to be excused from attending a significant portion of his trial. Though the trial chamber’s decision was overturned, the legal and practical implications are somewhat measured. Mr. Ruto may still be absent … Continue Reading

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Q & A with International Criminal Court Registrar Herman von Hebel: Part II

Herman von Hebel is the newly-elected Registrar of the International Criminal Court (ICC). He spoke with the Open Society Justice Initiative in June 2013 and answered questions about his experience at other international tribunals, the Registry’s role in outreach, and priorities going forward.

TS: You earlier mentioned the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL). How has this job compared so far to past positions as the Registrar for the SCSL and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon?

HvH: It is interesting because this is the third time I have had the privilege of being the Registrar for such institutions. The amazing thing is that every time it has proven to be a completely different job. Although the title is the same and the … Continue Reading

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