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ICC no better than chief's baraza, says MP as others dismiss Hague court as a 'joke'

THE HAGUE TRIAL
By Nzau Musau | January 14th 2016

THE HAGUE: It's all about judicial tourism! This was the unequivocal declaration that was made by MPs attending the decisive status conference on Deputy President William Ruto and his co-accused Joshua Sang's case at The Hague Wednesday.

The MPs did not show up in their usual droves, but those who did had particularly punchy shots against the court which is sitting to determine whether the five-year-old case will proceed or not.

"If this is not judicial tourism you will have to tell me what it is. The sort of things you have heard inside there can be solved by a very serious village chief in Nyandarua who is well briefed. We are spending a lot of our money on their hotels, on their taxis, on their flights. Nothing can justify our presence here other than judicial tourism," Nyandarua Woman Representative Wanjiku Muhia told The Standard over lunch break.

Murang'a County Governor Mwangi wa Iria who also attended Wednesday's hearings had no kind words for the court either. He was particularly unimpressed with the prosecution's presentation the day before: "It's a village matter from what I have heard so far. It's so petty that at some point in time I was wondering whether I am actually seated inside the International Criminal Court. All the indications are that this will end now," he said.

Baringo Central MP Sammy Mwaita described Wednesday's proceedings as "story upon story" built on hearsay and propaganda: "In comparative terms, this cannot even pass in a lower magistrate's chamber back home. It sounds like a joke that for instance, a five-year-old case against Sang' can be proved in only 0 minutes. The only positive thing from this is that it cannot run past this."

Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen who spoke on behalf of the group said it’s the "same old story." He said the leaders wanted to give the "last benefit of doubt" to the court.

"It’s all false victimisation. We believe it can come to an end this time round. We hope this is our last travel to the ICC. We not only hope, we believe this too. This is a waste of public resources, waste of time and persecution of the two gentlemen," he said.

Inside the courtroom in the public galleries, Ruto's wife Rachel led a modest team in offering "moral support" to her husband.

Resplendent in warm winter clad, she cut the image of grace as she took her place on the first row of the public galleries alongside her son and two daughters. She rarely engaged in banter like the rest of her colleagues as she presumably sold herself wholly into absorbing the arguments traded by both the defence and the judges in the case.

Occasionally, she would acknowledge greetings by supporters of her husband, some who struggled to get her glimpse from the steps of the gallery.

Next to her sat Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi and diehard supporter of the DP. The first term MP has not missed a single court session where Ruto appeared as a Deputy President and would rather doze off at the gallery than leave.

Behind on the second row of the public galleries sat two Cabinet ministers, the newest CSs in town Charles Keter (Energy) and Mwangi Kiunjuri (Devolution). Keter has never missed a single session of Ruto's sittings from the first day.

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