An ICC witness Thursday admitted that he made up a story about attending a rally allegedly addressed by Mr William Ruto in December 2007.
The stunning admission by the 12th prosecution witness, P-0409, was made during cross-examination by Mr Karim Khan, the Deputy President’s lead lawyer.
The witness, whose identity has been concealed on the orders of the court, had initially said he attended the rally in Meteitei, Tinderet constituency, just weeks before the 2007 General Election.
He had told the court that Mr Ruto and then area MP Henry Kosgey had addressed the rally.
Mr Khan dismissed the testimony, saying, the two leaders had in fact been in the area in June 2007, way before the election campaigns started and that no such rally was held there in the run-up to the polls.
Mr Khan said that neither the prosecution nor the witness could produce either video, audio or newspaper clipping of the rally because it had not happened.
“Are you aware that there is no mention of it in reports by the Waki and Kenya Human Rights Commission?” Mr Khan asked.
“I cannot tell,” the witness said.
Mr Khan then said: “I am putting it to you (that) the reason there is no reporting is that you are making up completely attending such a rally in 2007. Do you agree with that?”
Witness: “Nakubali (I agree)”.
The Ruto’s defence further accused the witness of changing his testimony to suit his interests.
Mr Khan said in his application to be considered as one of the victims, the witness had initially singled out Mr Kosgey as the one responsible for the events that occurred in 2008 when 1,133 people were killed in the post-election violence and another 650,000 displaced from their homes.
Mr Khan said after Mr Kosgey’s case was thrown out by the court — a move that would have denied the witness the opportunity to testify at The Hague — he decided to also include Mr Ruto’s name among those responsible for the violence.
“Mr Witness, I put it to you that the first time you mentioned Mr Ruto’s name was after Mr Kosgey’s case had been thrown out,” Mr Khan said.
To which the witness replied: “It is not so.”
Mr Khan then told the court that in the witness’ entire statement that he had given to the prosecution, he had not mentioned Mr Ruto. He said the main reason the witness applied to be considered a victim in the case was because he had hoped to get financial rewards, which would be paid after the conviction of Mr Ruto, Mr Kosgey and journalist Joshua arap Sang.
“You stated clearly in your victim’s application that all you wanted were finances… and that the beneficiary of this to be you and not even your family,” Mr Khan said.
The witness in his response denied the allegation that he had demanded compensation in order to give the court evidence. He said he did not receive any assistance, be it in the form of finances from the ICC, any individual or even non-governmental organisation to pay for his house rent, medication or his children’s school fees.
Mr Khan: When asked who you believe to be responsible for the events that occurred in 2007 you said it is Mr Henry Kosgey.
Witness: I cannot remember.
Mr Khan: You made no mention at all of Mr Ruto in your statement?
Witness: I said it.
Mr Khan: The first time you mentioned Ruto was after Mr Kosgey’s case had been thrown out. Is it true?
Witness: It is not.
Mr Khan: Are you aware that Mr Ruto’s name does not appear in your Victim’s and Witness Unit application form?
Witness: No I’m not.
Mr Khan also played several video clips to counter allegations that the word ‘Madoadoa’ (spots), had been used to rally Kalenjins to evict those not from the Rift Valley from their land.
In one of the clips, the then ODM presidential candidate, Mr Raila Odinga was heard urging his supporters, at a rally in Kisumu to vote “three piece” for the party during the elections.
“…Please vote for ODM at the top (presidency), Middle (MPs) and below (councillors)… we do not want Madoadoa (spots),” Mr Odinga said.
Asked by Mr Khan what he understood by what Mr Odinga meant when he used the term ‘Madoadoa’, the witness said the word had been used to urge ODM supporters to vote for only their candidates.
Mr Khan also accused the witness of lying that he was in the North Rift during on election day in 2007, yet he was in Kisumu.
“Can I put it to you that on December 27, at 5am you made a phone call from North Nyanza and at 8pm you also made another call from North Nyanza? Does this refresh your memory?” asked Mr Khan.
“No” said the witness.