Ruto fights for his life in 40 pages
By Felix O for the Star
DEPUTY President William Ruto has only 40 pages to dismantle the ICC case against him as he seeks acquittal over his crimes against humanity charges without having to mount a defence.
This is after the judges declined to extend the page limit of the no-case-to-answer motion to 100, despite pleas by Ruto and his co-accused Joshua arap Sang that documentary evidence and the testimony of hostile witnesses would complicate the exercise.
The decision puts the two defendants in a tight spot, as they will have to demolish the testimony of 30 prosecution witnesses as well as documentary evidence â€“ including the recently admitted Waki Commission Report â€“ in just 40 pages.
â€œThe Chamber notes that both the possibility of summonsed witnesses becoming hostile and/or recanting their testimony and the admission of further documentary evidence were clearly within the Chamber’s contemplation at the time of issuing the decision,â€ the judges ruled, dismissing the request for additional pages.
â€œTherefore, the Chamber is not persuaded that those developments amount to new facts and circumstances warranting reconsideration,â€ they said.
Ruto and Sang are fighting to obtain their freedom without having to go through the laborious process of presenting their own defence witnesses, a process that is likely to run into months.
The principle of a no-case-to-answer motion is that if the prosecution has adduced insufficient evidence after calling all its witnesses, the accused is acquitted forthwith, without putting up a defence.
In their latest ruling, the three-judge Bench also said that the no-case-to-answer motion must be filed no later than 14 days following the last day of the prosecution’s case.
Yesterday, the Star established that the prosecution case enters its last leg on March 23, when the last prosecution witness takes the stand.
This means that Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda will conclude her case before April, paving way for the defence to file the no-case-to-answer motion.
Victimsâ€™ Lawyer Wilfred Nderitu said that any oral submission regarding the no-case-to-answer motion will be at the judgesâ€™ discretion.
â€œThe judges can order a status conference, but only to explore in depth specific issues within the written filling,â€ explained Nderitu.
Ruto and the ruling Jubilee Alliance are banking on the no-case-to-answer motion to secure an early acquittal, with his legal team consistently dismissing the case as â€œfundamentally flawedâ€.
“We say that there is a rotten underbelly of this case that the prosecutor has swallowed hook, line and sinker, indifferent to the truth, all too eager to latch on to any . . . story that somehow ticks the boxes that we have to tick [to support the charges],” Ruto’s lead counsel Karim Khan said in 2013.
So far, 29 prosecution witnesses have testified in the case.