The International Criminal Court’s (ICC), Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has blamed “witness interference” for the ‘termination’ of the charges against Kenya’s Deputy President, William Ruto.
William Ruto and his co-accused Joshua Sang, a broadcaster were being tried for provoking the post-election violence of 2007 in the east African country. But the court on Tuesday dropped the charges against the two accused, Nii Akrofi disclosed.
In a video statement, her first official reaction to the ruling, Fatou Bensouda said: “We regret that due to deliberate and concerted effort to derail this case through witness interference, the judges have been prevented from determining the guilt or innocence of the accused on the full merit of the case.”
This development she noted has “denied the victims of 2007-2008 election violence in Kenya the justice they so deserve”.
She argued that the court took into consideration the fact that “other evidence may have been available to the prosecution had it been able to prosecute the case in a climate less hostile to the prosecution, its witnesses and the court in general.”
Since the two accused persons were not acquitted by the court, there is the possibility the prosecution could drag them back to the court in future under the same charges or under fresh charges if it manages to dig up some new evidence.
17 witnesses who had “agreed to testify against the accused” she said, “subsequently withdrew their cooperation with the court.” According to her, the witnesses were subjected to intimidation, social isolation and threats thus preventing them from testifying.
The ICC took up the matter after the Kenyan government failed to set up a special tribunal in 2009 to try the issue of post-election violence.