News / Africa

ICC Judge Warns Against Exposing Ruto Trial Witnesses

Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto, left, awaits start of trial, courtroom of the International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands, Sept. 10, 2013.
Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto, left, awaits start of trial, courtroom of the International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands, Sept. 10, 2013.
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Media reports say a number of witnesses have withdrawn from the case because of fears they and their families will be attacked.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.

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Comments
     
by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
September 19, 2013 2:52 AM
I give William Ruto credit for finding his own way to ICC to answer charges against him. He did not go into hiding and refused to be intimidated. If ICC finds William Ruto not guilty, then the ICC credibility will suffer within African communities. ICC notoriously indicted only African black leaders. ICC continues to ignore Arab leaders who recently committed war crimes

by: sylver Lodwoka from: South sudan
September 18, 2013 3:17 PM
Indeed, Kenyans Vice President is a gentlemen; to accept cooperating with ICC, in order to prove himself innocent.
In Response

by: Jackson Wafula from: Kampala, Uganda
September 20, 2013 5:51 AM
It was unwise for the Kenyan Parliament to vote for the withdrawal of Kenya from the ICC. When one is put on trial should not be seen a being found guilty. A trial in court is just way of determining whether one is guilty or not. The ICC will remain credible whether Ruto is found guilty or not. The complaint that ICC is not prosecuting Arab leaders is not based on fact. Most Arab countries are not signatories to Rome statute as such ICC has no jurisdiction over such countries.

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