How victims lawyer sealed Ruto’s fate at the ICC

The International Criminal Court, Hague. (Photo:Courtesy)
By FELIX OLICK

Nairobi, Kenya: Submissions by the lawyer representing victims of the post-election violence sealed the fate of Deputy President William Ruto as it prompted International Criminal Court (ICC) judges to order the Government to force eight witnesses to testify against him.

The judges were quick to point out that arguments by High Court advocate Wilfred Nderitu captured the correct interpretation of Kenya’s laws, as opposed to those by Attorney General Githu Muigai.

The ruling could be a pointer to a looming showdown between the Government and the ICC, which appears to have taken a hard-line position against Kenya especially on President Uhuru Kenyatta’s financial records.

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In their 78-page decision issued on Thursday, the judges gave Nderitu the thumbs up for correctly interpreting the Kenyan law, which they said Attorney General Githu Muigai had deliberately avoided.

“Mr Nderitu is the counsel for victims in this case. He is a member of the Bar of Kenya,” the three-judge bench said. “The Chamber is persuaded that Mr Nderitu’s position summarises the correct answer to the question addressed in this part of the decision.”

The judges said that in the course of oral submissions, Prof Muigai and Ruto’s defence counsel Karim Khan had evaded telling the chamber whether there was any Kenyan law that prohibits Kenya from complying with the prosecution request.

“The Attorney-General and the Defence avoided giving an answer to that question,” the judges observed.

They added: “Considering the vigour with which they opposed this application, the Chamber is confident that the Defence and the Attorney-General would have brought any such law to the attention of the Chamber,”

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When he appeared at The Hague on February 15, The Government chief legal advisor told the judges not to contemplate issuing such orders on Kenya insisting that it offends the International Criminal Act.

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International Criminal Court Githu Muigai William Ruto