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September 18, 2013

ICC Judge Warns Against Exposing Ruto Trial Witnesses

by VOA News

A judge in the trial of Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto has warned the public not to reveal the identity of protected prosecution witnesses.
 
International Criminal Court Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji issued the warning in court Wednesday, after a number of online bloggers and social media users said they had identified the first witness in the case.
 
The woman's image and voice were electronically distorted Tuesday, as she testified about a deadly attack on a church in Kenya's Rift Valley where people had taken refuge from machete-wielding gangs.
 
Ruto and radio executive Joshua Sang are accused of orchestrating ethnic violence after Kenya's disputed 2007 presidential election. Both men have pleaded not guilty.
 
Media reports say a number of witnesses have withdrawn from the case because of fears they and their families will be attacked.
 
Eboe-Osuji, the presiding judge in the case, said revealing the identity of protected witnesses is a legal offense, and said the ICC would prosecute the offenders.
 
The initial witness continued her testimony in closed session Wednesday.
 
Afterward, the prosecution suggested the court should increase security measures for witnesses. Ruto's lawyer protested, saying that would shroud the trial in secrecy.
 
Ruto and Sang both face charges of crimes against humanity. Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta also faces charges connected to the post-election violence and goes on trial in November.
 
The Kenyan parliament recently voted to withdraw from the ICC in protest of the trials.