Deputy President William Ruto will this week know the identities of witnesses who are to testify against him at The Hague in the Netherlands and are not under the protection of the International Criminal Court.
According to the pre-trial calendar, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda should have disclosured to Ruto’s defence all prosecution witnesses with security concerns but are not under protection 30 day’s before the opening of trial.
The trial on crimes against humanity brought against Ruto and his co-accused, former radio presenter Joshua Sang, is set to begin on September 10.
Last Friday, the Trial Chamber Five judges gave Bensouda until yesterday to give additional reasons why she still does not want to disclose some witnesses.
The witnesses gave crucial information to the ICC against Ruto and Sang, but the prosecutor will not be calling them to testify during the trial.
“Pursuant to Regulation 28, the court orders for additional submission relating to prosecution application regarding the disclosure of certain individuals who will not appear as trial witnesses,” a staement read.
Through lawyer Karim Khan, Ruto said Bensouda is trying to deny the defence crucial information.
“The defence is legally entitled to this information. Even taken in isolation, the defence submits that none of the prosecution’s arguments justify withholding the identities of the 12 non-trial witnesses,” Khan said.
Ruto said the application revealed serious communication and operational problems within the prosecution.
Bensouda sought permission not to reveal the identity of some prosecution witnesses against Ruto and Sang.
She said some witnesses are now missing and she has not been able to reach them to find out whether they object to their identities being disclosed.
Bensouda said that with the exception of witness P-0087, her witnesses live in Kenya or have relatives living in Kenya. She said they are afraid to have their identities disclosed.
The judges will make a decision on Ruto’s claims that he has strong evidence to show that local and international NGOs have a scheme to fabricate evidence against him at the ICC.
Ruto has now applied to the Trial Chamber Five to compel Bensouda to put the eight witnesses, whom he accuses of being coached to lie against him, on the witness stand after the opening statements of the trial.
“By calling these witnesses first, the Chamber will be able to chart the proper and just course of this trial and help prevent a miscarriage of justice,” Ruto said.
The Deputy President also wants the prosecution’s lead investigator put on the witness stand as the ninth witness for overseeing the selection process of the eight witnesses.