The International Criminal Court will on Tuesday decide whether Deputy President William Ruto and former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang will be put on their defence on the crimes against humanity charges.
Judges Chile Eboue-Osuji, Olga Herrera Carbuccia and Robert Fremr will rule on whether or not the two have a case to answer, a decision that will have far-reaching implications on the Deputy President’s political career.
Should the judges decide that both have a case to answer, they will be put on their defence and might be required to call witnesses. A converse ruling will lead to the collapse of the cases and freedom for the two from charges of crimes against humanity arising from the 2007/2008 post-election violence.
Mr Ruto and Mr Arap Sang’s legal teams filed the no-case-to-answer application last September, saying that ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda had not built a case to have then put on their defence.
The application was heard in January, but the judges blocked the defence teams from presenting witnesses to support their arguments. However, lawyer Karim Khan for Mr Ruto and Mr Katwa Kigen, for Mr Sang, argued that the case had collapsed after the prosecution failed to present adequate evidence.
Today’s ruling will be posted on the ICC website at 6pm.
In Eldoret, a cross-section of Rift Valley leaders were united in calling for calm ahead of the ruling.
The leaders, who have held a series of prayer meetings in support of the duo, expressed optimism that the charges would be terminated to bury the ghost of the post-election chaos in which 1,133 people were killed and more than 600,000 displaced.
The DP and Mr Sang, who both are from the Rift Valley — the epicentre of the violence — are the only remaining suspects in the cases after the ICC prosecution dropped charges facing four others, including President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“All we know is that the two, like the rest, are innocent and the charges will eventually be dropped to set them free and join the rest of Kenyans in building the nation,” said the Rev Zachariah Chirchir of the AIC in Baringo.
Religious leaders in the region, operating under the umbrella of Kenyans for Peace and Reconciliation, said the cases were meaningless since the communities that turned against each other have since been co-existing peacefully.
“The victims have already healed and moved on,” said the Eldoret Pastors and Bishops Forum chairman, Bishop Julius Atsango. “The communities, which fought, are now living together as brothers and sisters.”
Bishop Cornelius Korir of the Eldoret Catholic Diocese also appealed for calm.
Mr Ruto and Mr Sang are accused of crimes against humanity consisting of murder, deportation, or forcible transfer of populations and persecution, allegedly committed in 2007/2008.
Mr Ruto has been excused from attending today’s ruling in The Hague, the Netherlands, since he is holding fort for President Kenyatta, who is in Paris at the start of a two-nation European tour.
Contacted for comment, Mr Sang expressed optimism that he would be cleared of all the charges facing him, citing the day he was mentioned as one of the ICC suspects as the worst in his life.
“I have no case to answer and I’m sure I will be vindicated,” Mr Sang told the Daily Nation.
“Sometimes I see witnesses peddling lies against me in court and I wonder what took me there in the first place.”
[Source:- The Nation]