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Bid to have Ruto case dismissed delayed

International Criminal Court judges have put breaks on Deputy President William Ruto’s planned no-case-to-answer motion until a decision is made on Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s application to admit statements of hostile witnesses.

This came out on Friday during the status conference the court called to discuss the progress of the case.

“We are now at the stage where the Prosecutor’s Rule 68 application has kept open the case with the prosecution until that application is decided.

“In light of that, we may need to adjust the time frame for the victims to indicate what they are planning to apply for, if any.

“We have in mind the deadline of the June 12 to file any application you (the victims) may have so as to allow other parties to react to it,” Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji said.

In response, Orchlon Narantsetseg, standing in for the victims’ lawyer Wilfred Nderitu, told the court that they would make an application to call some of the victims “to express their views and concerns” before the prosecution closes its case.

NO CASE TO ANSWER

The decision could delay Mr Ruto’s and his co-accused Joshua Sang’s planned filing of the no-case-to-answer motion for several days or months, or even see the case spill over to 2017, the next election year, depending on what the court will decide.

The judges have scheduled another session on June 22 to hear oral submissions on the prosecution’s application to have the prior-recorded statements and testimonies admitted into evidence.

The Bench had originally scheduled the session to start on June 17 but Mr Ruto’s lead counsel submitted that he would be attending to another matter at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and requested for a later date.

Ms Bensouda wants the court to allow her to literally apply Rule 68 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence to use the prior-recorded testimonies of some of the witnesses who were declared hostile by the court after they recanted their testimonies after being compelled to testify.

The Trial Chamber, in April 2014, compelled eight witnesses to testify after Ms Bensouda informed the judges that they were not  cooperating or had indicated that they were no longer willing to testify.  The Appeals Chamber confirmed the decision.

This story was first published on the Saturday Nation