DP Ruto risks 5 years in jail for allege*ly influencing witnesses in ICC case

By , K24 Digital
On Thu, 25 Nov, 2021 10:41 | 2 mins read
Deputy President William Ruto during a previous court hearing at the ICC. PHOTO/COURTESY

Deputy President William Ruto seems not to be off the hook from the International Criminal Court case. This is after the court, in new documents, found that he influenced witnesses to sabotage the case against him and radio journalist Joshua Arap Sang.

Deputy prosecutor James Stewart on Tuesday, November 22, told the court that he had evidence proving that Ruto coordinated and masterminded witness corruption programme that sabotaged the case.

"The evidence establishes that the pattern of witness interference was conducted for the benefit of an in coordination with William Samoei Ruto," Stewart said in a statement, as reported by Daily Nation.

Ruto reportedly committed the crimes in coordination with Kenyan lawyer Paul Gicheru who surrendered to the ICC last year to answer charges relating administration of justice.

According to the Daily Nation report, these allegations might put Ruto in another legal battle with the international court.

If found guilty of the allegations, DP Ruto shall have breached Article 70(1)c, and risks being charged with corruptly influencing witnesses which could earn him up to five years in jail for every count and payment of reparation to the 2008/07 post-election violence.

The latest development comes years after Ruto was charged with crimes against humanity at the ICC but was later freed after the court determined that witnesses in his case were interfered with and politically influenced.

The ICC also noted that there was no evidence at the time to prove that Ruto was directly involved in the witnesses interference.

Five years after the ruling, the Internation Court now claims that it has evidence to prove that Ruto interfered with the evidence.

The prosecutor said that at the centre of their claims is the anti-ICC sentiments that were made in Ruto's political backyard, the former Rift Valley Province that saw people associating with the court being viewed as traitors and an enemy of the community.

The prosecution said that it was during this time that it sought permission to arrest some individuals who allegedly made attempts to identify, contact and corruptly influence prosecution witnesses through bribes and intimidation.

The prosecution said that it is through these influences that saw several witnesses withdraw from the case.

During this time, Ruto is said to have been using lawyer Gicheru to plan and execute his plan to influence some witnesses.

The ICC determined that Gicheru willingly helped the DP thanks to their previous relationship. The court determined that the two were close friends and were former schoolmates.

Some of the witnesses that Ruto and his team reportedly influenced include Amaco Insurance boss Silas Kibet Simatwo, the chairman of CDF of Eldoret North, Meshack Yebei, and journalist Barasa.

It, however, warned that it would revisit the case once it gets enough evidence that proved otherwise.

Ruto is said to have used Gicheru to pay witnesses money which could cost up to Ksh2 million to withdraw from the case.

"He (Gicheru) said that Ruto had requested this second document (a written affidavit from a witness asking to withdraw from a case). Gicheru instructed the witness to write that he had no evidence against Ruto and that he was withdrawing from the ICC proceeding," ICC prosecutor James Stewart said in a statement, as reported by Daily Nation.

"A couple of days later Gicheru informed the witness that Ruto was pleased when he received the affidavit and had instructed Gicheru to give the witness more money," he added.