Ocampo disowns two ‘witnesses’

Wednesday November 17 2010

Phoebe Okall | NATION Lawyer Charles Koech representing the two accused of giving false evidence Mr Kipkemboi Rono (center) and Mr Ken Wekesa (right) at the CID headquarters on Tuesday.

Phoebe Okall | NATION Lawyer Charles Koech representing the two accused of giving false evidence Mr Kipkemboi Rono (center) and Mr Ken Wekesa (right) at the CID headquarters on Tuesday. 

By EMEKA-MAYAKA GEKARA and CAROLINE RWENJI newsdesk@ke.nationmedia.com

Two men who claimed they were coached will not be on the ICC list of witnesses, court prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo has said.

This comes as officials from the International Criminal Court on Wednesday failed to turn up for a meeting with lawyers of security chiefs who have been asked to record statements on the post-election violence.

Mr Ocampo said the two witnesses did not give evidence before the office of the prosecutor adding: “They were not going to be presented as witnesses by the office before the judges”.

“Before interviewing a witness, the office conducts rigorous tests on the credibility of the witness,” the prosecutor said in a statement.

Last week, Eldoret North MP William Ruto accused the Kenya Human Rights Commission of coaching witnesses.

Mr Ocampo pointed out that there are people trying to ‘intimidate or bribe’ possible witnesses.

A letter from The Hague requested that the meeting be postponed until Monday next week “during which statement taking will proceed in earnest,” said one of the lawyers, Mr Evans Monari.

However, a source close to the security chiefs said: “The security officers are uncomfortable because they are not sure what they say will not be used against them and that they strongly feel their bosses intend to use them as “sacrificial lambs.”

Lady Justice Kalpana Rawal who has been appointed to oversee the statement-taking will start the exercise after the meeting with the ICC team.

According to judge Rawal, evidence touching on national security will be adduced behind closed doors. However, the court can hold a session in the open at the request of a witness.

Earlier, the Kenyan team had insisted that rules to guide the process are gazetted.

Under the rules, the judge will issue summons to the witnesses and give them a summary of what they will be asked to testify on. Once summoned, a witness will have 15 days to give evidence.