ICC Day 1 – Kenya case: Ruto, Kosgey and Sang had their first day in court today
Posted by African Press International on September 1, 2011
By Korir, Chief editor API
It was tense in court. One could see tension mounting when William Ruto’s lawyer Mr Hooper took the stand telling the court how his client is suffering due to the process that is flawed. Accusing the Chief Prosecutor of having not done proper investigation the lawyer told the judges that Ocampo has no motive to see justice done.
Ocampo was accused by the defence lawyers – Ruto’s, Kosgey’s and Sang’s of using information from anonymous witnesses to put their clients in an awkward situation, defending themselves against crimes they have not committed.
The prosecutor had addressed the court saying the suspects arranged 8 meetings where they discussed to kill other tribes namely; Kikuyus, Luhyas, Kisiis and Kambas. Ocampo said the three capitalised on existing tensions from 1992 and 1997 elections that saw tribal clashes in Rift Valley erupt. He told the court that the Kalenjins led by the three suspects are angry that Kenya’s founding President the late Jomo Kenyatta because he gave land in the Rift Valley that belonged to them to his tribesmen the Kikuyus during his reign.’
And dealing in specifics to drive a point home, Moreno Ocampo said Mr Ruto used money to win the youth who were paid to select target properties that belonged to the Kikuyus, Luhyas, Kisii’s and Kambas that they later attacked and killing the owners.
Ocampo says Mr Ruto, Kosgey and Sang had a network which was militarised, and that there was a chain of command reporting to Ruto on one side and Kosgey on the other.
Mr Sang is said to have encouraged the Kalenjins using his Radio programme in Kass FM, in deed supporting the wishes of Ruto and Kosgey.
The lawyer representing the victims told the court that she was representing 327 victims aged between 20 and 80 years. She stated that there ware 147 female and 181 male and their stories of suffering could not be told in the few minutes allocated to her. She, however, gave a few examples of one who suffered 80 degree burns and the other who was shot on the leg using an arrow that has made him paralysed for the rest of his life.
According to her some victims who felt threatened and left the Kalenjin areas have returned to their homes, but that they have told her that they do not appreciate living side by side with the perpetrators. The victim’s lawyer told the court to give them justice needed because the government of Kenya has ignored their plight and has not compensated any of them. The lawyer said many of the victims lost their businesses and land.
Ruto took the stand at 19.12, after his lawyers had made opening statements. He told the court that he cannot have planned to kill the Kikuyu people or any other because he is a God-fearing man. Narrating his story he told the judges that Ocampo has erred in bringing him to court.
In a convincing statement Ruto told the court that his own blood sisters Teresa and Tecla are married to Kikuyu men, arguing that if it were true that he planned the murdering of the Kikuyu people then that is to insinuate that he was going to kill his own in-laws.
On the question that he held meetings in his home at Sugoi to plan he killings, Ruto told the court that it was impossible to do so. The offices of the District Officer Rebecca Muturi, a Kikuyu, the Officer Commanding Police Station, a Kikuyu and the office of the District Criminal Investigation Officer, a Kisii all are near his home and any such illegal meetings as stated by the prosecution could not have been allowed because the three officers mentioned above are jointly in charge of the security in the area.
Attacking Ocampo’s statement that retired military men Koech, Cheruiyot and Cherambos had a meeting with him in his home where he gave them weapons, Ruto told the court that the three men do not even know his house and that they have never held a meeting with him to plan killings of any Kenyan people.
Below: Ruto and Sang at the stairs of the ICC, leaving to their hotel after the hearing that ended at 20.05pm
Joshua Sang took the stand at 19.54 and in a strongly worded statement told the judges that he cherished christian values, and knew what ethical journalism is, and so could not have used his skills of 12 years as a journalist to incite the Kalenjin people to take arms against the other tribes as has been alleged by the prosecutor.
Mr Joshua Sang’s lawyer Mr J.K. Bosek, below: Making a few remarks in Swahili to a Kenya local TV /Radio Station, (API is just listening in.)
Sang told the court that some witnesses had lied about him. He gave an example where one witness has told the prosecution that he (Sang) attended a burial of one Mr Lucas Sang who according to the witness was buried on the 14th of January 2008.
Sang told the court that he never attended any such burial and that he has now found out that such a burial took place but on the 10th of January 2008 contrary to the prosecution’s witness.
Kosgey who is now 64 years old is the eldest of the suspects. He did not address the court personally. His lawyer Mr Oraro told the judges that Kosgey is a respected Kalenjin politician who has been in parliament since 1974. He added that Kosgey is a christian who is also respected by his church and is a man of integrity who will not want to harm anybody for the purposes of getting power.