ICC appeals chamber rejects use of recanted evidence in Ruto, Sang case

By KBC Reporters

The International Criminal Court Appeals Court has Friday reversed the Trial Chamber’s decision to use prior testimony of five witnesses’ in the Deputy President William Ruto Sang Journalist Arap Sang cases.

The five-judge bench of the ICC’s Appeals Chamber led by Presiding Judge Piotr Hofmanski decided to throw out prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s appeal to the court to be allowed to use prior recorded testimonies of the five prosecution witnesses who turned hostile and became the subject of vicious courtroom battles at the ICC.

“The prior recorded testimony was delivered without an opportunity for the accused to cross-examine the witnesses,” said presiding judge Piotr Hofmanski.

The appeal judges ruled that rule 68 of the Rome statute will not be used retrogressively.

In their appeal Ruto and Sang challenged the admission of prior recorded testimony in August 2015, as sought by International Criminal Court Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda.

Bensouda requested to use recanted evidence under Rule 68 which was adopted at the 12th Assembly of States Parties in 2013.

In appealing the decision by the prosecution to use recanted evidence, Ruto and Sang argued that the court erred when it admitted into evidence prior recorded testimony of five crucial witnesses who either withdrew or recanted their testimonies to the prosecution.

The prosecution has objected to the application arguing that the said witnesses were intimidated or bribed to ensure that the case collapses. The prosecution on the other hand argues that the testimony of the five witnesses is of great impact to their case.

The decision by the prosecution to apply rule 68 in the case has come under harsh criticism not only from Ruto and Sang’s lawyers but also from the African Union which accused the ICC of violating an agreement made during the Assembly of States Parties.

Kenya has been mobilizing the international community, including the Assembly of States Parties, to stop the use of recanted evidence in the Ruto case, saying the amendment to Rule 68 of the Rome Statute was made after the case had started. Kenya has been pushing to block the amendment from being used retroactively.

The decision has come under sharp criticism not only from Ruto and Sang’s lawyers but also from the African Union which accuses the ICC of violating an agreement made during the Assembly of States Parties.

  

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