The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda has closed her case against Deputy President William Ruto and Radio Journalist Joshua Arap Sang, four years after charges were confirmed.
Ms Bensouda informed the ICC judges on Thursday evening that she had finished her submissions adding that she had also notified the Trial Chamber, Parties and participants of the decision.
Before the trial can proceed to the Defense phase, several litigation issues will have to be resolved, including final determination by the ICC Appeals Chamber of Defence appeals against the Trial Chamber’s 19 August 2015 “Decision on Prosecution Request for Admission of Prior Recorded Testimony,” pursuant to amended Rule 68 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence.
Ms Bensouda's statement caused a frenzy on social media when some media houses and journalists wrongly interpreted the closing of the prosecution's team to mean dropping of the case altogether.
Mr Ruto and Mr Sang have been accused of crimes during the 2007/2008 post-election violence that rocked several parts of the country and left at least 1,500 people dead and thousands injured.
The trial opened on 10 September 2013, and 29 witnesses have appeared in the courtroom for the Prosecution.
Meanwhile, the ICC has issued an arrest warrant against Paul Gicheru and Philip Kipkoech Bett for offences against the administration of justice consisting in corruptly influencing witnesses
The Pre-Trial Chamber II found that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Philip Kipkoech Bett, also known as “Kipseng’erya”, hailing from and residing in Kenya, and Paul Gicheru, a lawyer based in Kenya, are criminally responsible for offences against the administration of justice consisting in corruptly influencing Prosecution witnesses.
Based on the Prosecutor’s evidence, the Chamber found that it was necessary to arrest the two suspects to ensure that they did not obstruct or endanger the investigation or court proceedings and to prevent the further exercise of corrupt influence on the witnesses of the Court.
In its decision of 10 March 2015, the Chamber found that the ICC ought to have exercised its jurisdiction on the case, considering that based on the available information before the Chamber, an effective national prosecution was unlikely to take place in the particular circumstances of the present case, and with view to the size and extent of organisation of the alleged criminal effort to corruptly influence witnesses of the Court as well as the related concerns for witness protection.
Pre-Trial Chamber II decided to make the arrest warrant public on the basis of the information provided by the Prosecutor, that Paul Gicheru and Philip Kipkoech Bett were arrested on 30 July 2015 by the Kenyan police in Nairobi, in execution of the ICC’s request for arrest and surrender, and were presented before a Judge of the High Court of Kenya in accordance with the Kenyan law.
Since the arrest took place and Paul Gicheru and Philip Kipkoech Bett were made aware of the ICC’s warrant of arrest, the confidentiality of the document was no longer justified.
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