ICC Judges have declared a third prosecution witness hostile in the trial of Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang.
Trial Chamber V (a) said on Thursday it made its decision because Witness 516 had during his testimony over the past three days diverged “consistently and systematically” from the statement he gave the prosecution in November 2012.
“We feel called upon to explain that the factor of consistent and systematic divergence between testimony and previous statement is not a factor that floats in the air. It is a factor that necessarily takes its bearing from the central question that the court must answer in the case. In a criminal case that central question is a question of criminal responsibility of the accused person,” said Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji as he delivered the chamber’s decision on behalf of his fellow judges Olga Herrera Carbuccia and Robert Fremr.
The chamber announced its decision after the morning break, following an earlier application senior trial lawyer Anton Steynberg made. The legal representative for victims, Orchlon Narantsetseg, supported the prosecution’s application. Both defense teams for Ruto and Sang opposed the application.
Ruto and Sang are on trial on three counts each of crimes against humanity for their alleged roles in the violence that followed the December 2007 presidential election.
Witness 516 is also the third witness who is appearing before Trial Chamber V (a) under subpoena it issued to compel nine witnesses to testify before it. So far two witnesses have testified before the court under such a subpoena. They are Witness 604 and Witness 495 and like Witness 516 they gave their testimony via video link from an undisclosed location in Nairobi. They were also declared hostile witnesses.