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Blow to ICC as ASP drops use of recanted evidence in Ruto, Sang case.

Posted by African Press International on November 27, 2015

**Blow to ICC as ASP drops use of recanted evidence in Ruto, Sang case.

Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua Arap Sang can now breathe a sigh of relief after the Assembly of State Parties (ASP) Plenary ratified the resolution of its Bureau that the controversial Rule 68 on recanted evidence should not apply retroactively.

This means that the recanted evidence in their ongoing cases at International Criminal Court (ICC) will not be used, dealing a major blow to the ICC Prosecution.

Rule 68 was first amended in 2013 during the 12th Session of the ASP to allow the use of prior recorded evidence, popularly referred to as recanted evidence.

The ASP Bureau agreed with Kenya’s proposal to suspend the use of recanted evidence in the case of Ruto and Sang.

The ICC Bureau, which is a 18 member state committee, presented its report with the recommendations to the ASP Plenary, which endorsed them unanimously Thursday night.

On Wednesday, the assembly had reaffirmed that “Rule 68 shall not be applied retroactively or to the detriment of the person who is being investigated or prosecuted”, something that Kenya was opposed to and wanted it amended to read; “Rule 68 shall not be applied retroactively.”

Kenya had also threatened to disown resolutions of the 14th Session of the ASP if its agenda did not succeed.

The government delegation had warned that if it did not succeed, then it was going to initiate a process of pulling out of the Rome Statute that establishes the International Criminal Court (ICC), sentiments that were echoed by the Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Ambassador Amina Mohamed on Thursday.

Through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs twitter account, the CS said: “Kenya would have no option in the circumstances other than contemplate withdrawal.”

Her sentiments followed after Kenya’s first attempt to have Rule 68 on recanted evidence reviewed or suspended in the case facing DP Ruto and Sang at The Hague faced hostility from the ASP technical working team on the matter. This prompted the matter to be referred back to the ASP Bureau Committee chaired by its President for further negotiations before a resolution would be made.

The controversial Rule 68 as amended in 2013 reads; “When the Pre-Trial Chamber has not taken measures under article 56, the Trial Chamber may, in accordance with article 69, paragraph 2, allow the introduction of previously recorded audio or video testimony of a witness, or the transcript or other documented evidence of such testimony, provided that:

(a) If the witness who gave the previously recorded testimony is not present before the Trial Chamber, both the Prosecutor and the defence had the opportunity to examine the witness during the recording; or

(b) If the witness who gave the previously recorded testimony is present before the Trial Chamber, he or she does not object to the submission of the previously recorded testimony and the Prosecutor, the defence and the Chamber have the opportunity to examine the witness during the proceedings.”

Ruto and Sang had also filed an appeal at the ICC challenging the use of recanted evidence by the Office of the Prosecutor. Whether the appeal will continue to its logical conclusion is a wait-and-see situation.
(Citizen news Kenya)

Commentary by Korir, Chief editor API. : This move taken by Assembly of State Parties will bring to close Deputy President Ruto, and Sang cases at the ICC. It will cement peace, and tranquility in Kenya.

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