By: BERNARD NAMUNANE
Deputy President William Ruto has said prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has failed to prove his guilty.
He instead blamed the “Mt Kenya Mafia” for the 2007/08 post election violence in his submission to the ICC judges seeking to be acquitted of the charges of crimes against humanity.
In a 95-page submission for a no-case-to-answer motion which is highly redacted, Mr Ruto argues that Ms Bensouda has failed to prove that he committed the crimes of murder, forcible displacement of people and persecution during the 2007/08 post-election violence.
Even with the recanted statements from six witnesses, argued Mr Ruto’s lawyer Karim Khan in the latest application, the ICC prosecutor had failed to provide evidence to show that his client committed crimes in Uasin Gishu and its environs during the violence.
“This failure applies, irrespective of the nature of the crime or when or where it was committed,” he argues.
“The Defence respectfully requests the Trial Chamber to enter a judgment of acquittal in respect of the three counts of crimes against humanity with which Mr Ruto is charged.”
Mr Khan begins his submission by attacking the prosecution’s argument that the violence was masterminded by a network headed by Mr Ruto, targeting PNU supporters in Eldoret Town and its environs.
Instead, he says that the violence was “spontaneous” and in “isolated attacks” following a perception by many Kenyans that the election results were rigged in favour of President Mwai Kibaki of PNU.
He argues that many Kenyans believed that ODM candidate Raila Odinga won the 2007 elections.
“Contrary to the OTP’s (office of the prosecutor’s) case, the evidence demonstrates that the rigging fears were not created by Mr Ruto’s public speeches. Nor were they created by empty ODM rhetoric. Rather, it was the combination of several factors unconnected to Mr Ruto, which raised tensions about rigging and contributed to the outbreak of violence,” he argues.
Mr Khan adds that, unlike the prosecution’s assertion that his client was determined to acquire political power even if it involved violence, Mr Ruto was a popular candidate in his Eldoret North Constituency and there were clear indications that ODM leader Raila Odinga would have been elected President.
Majority of Kenyans, including foreign envoys, were categorical that the 2007 elections were wrought with irregularities and that was the reason for the eruption of violence when President Kibaki was declared the winner.
“By: 2007, there was a perception that [Kenya had] an over-powerful presidency and a regime that had a criminal element. There were concerns that Kibaki and the so-called ‘Mount Kenya Mafia’ were not willing to share power and that, by 2007, Kibaki was not going to give up power willingly,” he says, quoting Witness P-0268.
The lawyer submits that the violence by people who felt aggrieved by the elections was widespread and not confined in Eldoret alone.
Mr Khan counters prosecution arguments of the existence of network, led by Mr Ruto, saying there was no network in Uasin Gishu at the time.
He argues that the Pre-Trial Chamber confirmed the case based on the evidence of six hostile witnesses whose statements have failed to show there was a common plan to resort to violence.
“This case was confirmed based upon the statements of the “Confirmation Six.” Only three of these confirmation witnesses appeared before this Chamber. The evidence relied upon by the PTC to confirm this case has, on any analysis, evaporated,” he was referring to Witnesses P-0658, P-0743, P-0025, P-0015, P-0024 and the sixth witness whose particulars have been kept confident because he did not testify.
The lawyer stated that Mr Ruto preached peace and calm during the post-election violence.