ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has a 2,000-page dossier detailing how her ICC witnesses were influenced in the case against Deputy President William Ruto.
The details emerged a day before the court’s Appeals Chamber delivers a make-or-break verdict on whether recanted testimony will be used against the DP and his co-accused, Joshua Sang.
The volume of evidence has triggered fears Bensouda could be laying the ground to charge Ruto with offences against the administration of justice – especially if her plea on recanted testimony is rejected.
Details of the dossier were partially captured in an August 2015 partly concurring opinion by lead Trial Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji on the use of recanted testimony.
This was after Bensouda filed the documents to buttress her claims of “unprecedented witness tampering” in the Kenyan case.
“Upon the urging of the Prosecution to allow evidence of witness tampering to be exhibited in the course of the trial, in order to give the Chamber ‘a picture’ of the extent of witness interference that would explain the recantations, the Chamber allowed 21 materials to be tendered into the record as evidence,” Osuji said.
“They comprised about 288 pages. But in their eventual application, now under consideration, the Prosecution attached 210 further items, comprising about 1,669 pages, as additional evidence of witness tampering. The total numbers for the two batches of items would then be 231 items comprising about 1,957 pages.”
So far, Bensouda has not linked the DP directly to the alleged witness tampering, only insisting that those responsible are acting to benefit the accused.
However, reports of sealed arrest warrants against four more Kenyans – said to be close aides of the DP – for witness tampering could be a pointer to the Prosecution legal strategy.
Sealed warrants mean that the judges have granted a request by the Office of the Prosecutor, but the details are not immediately made public.
The ICC has so far unsealed three against journalist Walter Barasa, lawyer Paul Gicheru and Philip Kipkoech Bett.
In his August ruling, Osuji warned that Bensouda’s case must remain strictly within the scope of charges confirmed, which are murder, forcible transfer of populations and persecution.
Tomorrow, the Appeals Chamber will rule whether recanted testimony will be used in the case.