The trial against Deputy President William Ruto and his co accused Joshua arap Sang took an unusual twist at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday, when the fifth prosecution witness apologised to “anyone he might have offended by appearing” at The Hague-based Court.
The witness apologised right after Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji wished him safe travel and even ordered for the blinds to come down, signalling the end of his testimony.
“May I say a word?” asked the witness.
“Yes,” nodded Judge Eboe-Osuji.
“Before I go, it is to me that maybe I offended anybody when I came here and maybe I offended anybody by my appearance here,” he said before being cut short by the Judge.
Judge Eboe-Osuji further assured him that he need not worry adding that his presence had not offended anyone.
Counsel Adewole Omofade (Office of the Prosecutor) had earlier taken about half the time he had requested to cross-examine the witness.
But during this session, witness P0487 once again largely contradicted himself and faltered on his statements forcing Judge Eboe-Osuji to intervene.
On Thursday the witness, who had all along insisted that he attended a rally by Ruto and other ODM Pentagon members at the 64 Stadium, changed his mind about the venue after defence lawyer David Hooper played a video clip showing that it was at the Huruma grounds.
And when Omofade asked him if he was sure he attended the rally in 2007, he responded by saying he was not sure.
“Is there any doubt in your mind that you attended that rally?” asked Omofade.
“I would like to say that all my mind and my recollections in mind are…,” he faltered before Judge Eboe-Osuji interrupted him.
“The question that the lawyer asked you is whether you were sure that you had attended that rally, which you now say happened at Huruma grounds. He is asking whether you are sure in your own mind that you were at the rally,” explained the Judge.
“Well I can admit that I am not sure,” answered the witness.
When prodded some more on the exact venue of the rally, the witness once again flip-flopped saying he was confused and that it could have been at the 64 Stadium.
But the session got even more confusing when he added that the meeting he attended was not a political rally although Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga were present.
The witness also explained that when Ruto was making his speech during the rally, the crowd started chanting anti Kikuyu sentiments and Ruto did not try to correct them.
The sixth prosecution witness is scheduled to take the stand next. But it is not clear if the witness will testify in public after the Victims and Witness’ Unit requested for the account to be held in private.