Kenya: Nearly a half of the witnesses the prosecution lined up in the two Kenyan cases at the International Criminal Court have withdrawn, puncturing Ms Fatou Bensouda’s case.
The ICC prosecutor had lined up 77 prosecution witnesses to testify against President Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto and Kass FM journalist Joshua Arap Sang. But of these, at least 30 have so far left the cases, according to an analysis by The Standard of official ICC records and reports about individuals who have sworn affidavits withdrawing as witnesses.
On January 9, last year, Ms Bensouda had told trial judges the prosecution intended to call 43 witnesses in the Ruto-Sang trial. In Uhuru’s trial, the prosecution had hoped to call 34 witnesses— 31 testifying on the facts of the post-election violence and three expert witnesses.
The exodus has jolted the prosecution’s cases because among those who have withdrawn are what prosecution labels “insider witnesses” because their testimonies directly implicated the accused.
Among those remaining are expert witnesses whose testimony is largely academic. Documents filed by the prosecutor show at least 10 witnesses, including those the prosecution says are at the heart of the case against the President, will no longer testify.
Prosecutors have since admitted the case against President Kenyatta is on the brink of collapsing, with the stones left unturned having become pebbles, after testimony by three witnesses on an alleged State House meeting, which was instrumental in confirming the charges, was found to be false.
Prosecutors admitted witnesses 4 and 12 gave false evidence about the alleged December 30, 2007 meeting at State House, Nairobi where retaliatory attacks on opposition supporters were allegedly planned. “P-0012 recently admitted that he provided false evidence regarding the event at the heart of the prosecution’s case against the accused,” Bensouda told the court. “P-0012’s account lay at the heart of the prosecution’s evidence, providing a critical link between the accused and the crimes in Nakuru and Naivasha.”
Witness Number 4 was a Mungiki insider who lied he attended the State House meeting and the revelation prompted Bensouda to withdraw the charges against Uhuru’s co-accused, former Civil Service chief Francis Muthaura.
Source: Standard Digital News