By Standard Reporter
News of conviction of former Congolese head of armed militia, the first ever secured by International Criminal Court, spread across the country like bushfire because next on the dock are four Kenyans.
This is because the appeals filed by four high profile Kenyans against full trial have all been rejected, except one on jurisdiction of the ICC on the Kenya case. This may also likely fall on the face given the pattern of The Hagueâs past rulings.
But the significance of the ruling handed on Wednesday, and beamed live on television in Kenya, lies in the fact that most of the conclusions reached by the judges have a bearing on the way the set of three that could be picked to try the four Kenyans may decide on the issues raised by the suspects and the Prosecution. Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga [Photo Reuters]
Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga [Photo Reuters]
Top on the list is the claim by Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, former Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura, Eldoret North MP William Ruto, and Kass FM Radio journalist Joshua arap Sang that the prosecutor relied on witnesses who fabricated evidence on meetings and allegations that did not occur.
In the case of Thomas Lubanga, ICC found out not only that six witnesses were fake and unreliable, but also that some of the victims could also not be depended upon, and recommended that they be investigated.
So, in the Kenya case, if the cases go to full trial, the suspects can still continue to tear into the evidence presented, character and integrity of the witnesses presented, as well as veracity of their testimonies and suitability for the roles accorded them by prosecution.
If they succeed on this front, they could put them in the hot seat that Lubangaâs defence has placed those that came up against their client.
"The Chamber has withdrawn the right of six dual status witnesses to participate in the proceedings, as a result of the Chamberâs conclusions as to the reliability and accuracy of these witnesses. The Chamber rejected testimony of the three victims who testified in court for unreliability," read the ruling.
It went on: "Given the material doubts that exist as to the identities of two of these individuals, which inevitably affect the evidence of the third, the Chamber decided to withdraw the permission originally granted to them to participate as victims."
The judges then threw in the stinger: "These individuals may have committed crimes under Article 70 of the Statute. Pursuant to Rule 165 of the Rules, the responsibility to initiate and conduct investigations in these circumstances lies with the prosecution."