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DP William Ruto seeks probe on ICC staff who lied to court

By Kamau Muthoni | May 4th 2016

Deputy President William Ruto now wants the International Criminal Court to prosecute its own staff.

The DP wants the court to carry out independent investigations and prosecute its staff and witnesses over alleged false evidence given to the trial chamber.

Through his lawyer Karim Khan, Ruto made the application before Trial Chamber V judges Chile Eboe-Osuji, Olga Herrera Carbuccia and Robert Fremr.

The application targets Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda's officers.

Mr Khan submitted that there was a strong belief witnesses were identified and coached by the Office of the Prosecutor in order to implicate Ruto in the 2007-08 post election violence.

"The defense for William Ruto respectfully requests the Trial Chamber to order the Office of the Prosecutor to investigate, with a view to initiating criminal prosecution against OTP witnesses, intermediaries, and possibly ICC staff members, for offences against the administration of justice, contrary to the Rome Statute," the application dated May 2 reads in part.

Khan submitted that the OTP evidence gave him reason to believe that ICC staff may have "engaged in sexual relations with witnesses and their families, been bribed by witnesses and were party to the submission of false financial claims, breaches of Victims and Witnesses Unit protocols by witnesses, and obtaining pecuniary benefit from the false financial claims".

"By encouraging, be it expressly or implicitly, and or assisting OTP witnesses to defraud the ICC, these ICC staff members have fostered an environment in which defrauding and telling lies to the ICC was encouraged. The conduct of such staff members may also have brought the administration of justice into disrepute. These serious allegations merit independent investigation," reads the application.

Ruto's lawyer cited witnesses 0356, 0409, 0613 and 0800 as individuals who deliberately told lies in court.

He added that witnesses 0613 and 0800 were allegedly used to coach other witnesses to give false information during investigation, after which their testimonies were used to prosecute his client.

Khan complained of Ms Bensouda's unwillingness to carry out investigations on her witnesses and staff.

According to the lawyer, Ruto's defence had notified the OTP on many occasions that witnesses were committing offenses against administration of justice but it did not take any action.

Khan had met with ICC's Deputy Prosecutor James Stewart on March 11, 2014 raising concerns over fabricated evidence given by the witnesses.

The defence wanted independent investigations carried out but, according to him, Mr Stewart rejected the prayers saying that a probe could only be done after the final judgement by the trial court.

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