International Criminal Court prosecutors fear identity of first witness now revealed
|ICC Registrar Herman Von Hebel conducts a briefing with Kenyan MPs on Deputy President William Ruto’s case at The Hague, Wednesday. [PHOTO: PIUS CHERUIYOT/STANDARD]|
SEE ALSO :DP Ruto: My road to presidency is clearThe court has taken measures to conceal the identity of the witness by, among other measures, concealing her face and distorting her voice, but reports indicated that both the prosecution and the witness were concerned about attempts to reveal her identity. When the court resumed in the afternoon, Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji warned those participating in proceedings and the public that the court would prosecute anyone who revealed the identity of witnesses. “Members of the press, bloggers, social media members or participants and their web hosts are particularly called upon to desist from anything that would reveal or attempt to reveal the identity of protected witnesses. Such conduct will be investigated and the culprits will be prosecuted,” warned Judge Eboe-Osuji. Kenya’s determination to withdraw from the ICC haunted Deputy President Ruto and his co-accused, journalist Joshua Sang, as the prosecution charged that it had evidence of hostility towards the court. Trial lawyer Anton Steynberg pressed for more protective measures, including withholding of the identities of witnesses before they are called up to testify.
SEE ALSO :BBI: Ruto answers to UhuruThe victims’ lawyer, Mr Wilfred Nderitu, said the action by the Kenyan Parliament had sent the message to victims and witnesses that “you are on your own.” The resolutions by the National Assembly and Senate had created a “hostile environment” for those co-operating with the court, he argued. With the prosecution seeking to use the action by parliament against the accused, Ruto himself addressed judges to clear the air on the status of Kenya. “I came here voluntarily because I believe in the rule of law, I believe in fairness,” Ruto said. Sang’s lawyer, Mr Katwa Kigen, argued that his client had no control over the actions by the National Assembly and the Senate and therefore they should not be used against him. Steynberg said: “What we ask are limited proportional protective measures for witnesses. They would still testify in open court.”
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