The Defence team of Deputy President William Ruto has dragged the name of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga into his ICC trial, after playing a video clip showing Odinga “calling for mass action.”
Odinga is later seen correcting his statement after Ruto whispered to him the words “peaceful mass action.”
Lawyer Karim Khan played the video four times to the court maintaining that his client had nothing to do with the bloody events that followed the controversial 2007 election.
Khan argued that Ruto did not ask anyone to kill or loot property of those perceived as enemies of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), to which he belonged at the time.
In the clip dated December 31, 2007 Odinga can be seen and heard calling for mass action arguing that the 2007 poll was rigged. Ruto is then heard whispering to him to include the word ‘peaceful’ in his call.
“It is very clear that it is William Ruto who utters the word ‘peaceful’. The whisper to the leader of ODM Raila Odinga is a qualification that is very important,” said Khan.
“It is a whisper that we say silences this prosecution and it is a whisper that is deafening. It gives the bench an insight into how erroneous this prosecution is.”
On December 30, 2007, immediate former President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner of the General Election that was conducted on December 27. He was then hurriedly sworn in on the same day under controversial circumstances.
The following day, Odinga maintained that the poll and the declaration of Kibaki as the winner was erroneous.
After Kibaki’s swearing-in, widespread violence broke out in Kenya.
Khan further maintained that Ruto did not have a hunger for power as has been claimed by the Office of the Prosecutor in justifying his alleged role in fanning the violence.
Khan argued that Ruto supported a Luo leadership in 2007 and would not have done so if he was power thirsty.
“I don’t have doubts about Madam Prosecutor (Fatou Bensouda) and her Deputy but about the fundamental systemic failings in the Office of the Prosecution. This case got off to the wrong start based upon wrong evidence and wrong focus,” he said.
Khan added that the Office of the Prosecutor was trying to do everything in its power to mend the flaws in her case.
Reports coming in indicate that the court will be forced to adjourn on Wednesday because the prosecution’s Witness Number One has not yet arrived in Netherlands and will get there on Thursday.