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Kosgey cuts out Ruto in his Hague defence

Monday September 5 2011

By OLIVER MATHENGE [email protected]

Suspended minister Henry Kosgey on Monday adopted an independent approach to defend himself against claims of masterminding the post-election violence.

His lawyer used Monday’s hearing to try and demonstrate that Mr Kosgey did not have any links with KASS FM, which is alleged to have broadcast hate messages.

Mr George Oraro told the court that the radio station covered the Tinderet MP negatively, citing an instance where his supporters protested at some of the station’s news bulletins.

Unlike his fellow suspects William Ruto and Joshua Sang, he gave up the right to call witnesses, saying he would rely on his lawyer’s submissions.

And also unlike Mr Sang, whose defence was weaved into that of Mr Ruto, such as explaining where Mr Ruto was on a certain day to prove that he could not have hosted the radio presenter, Mr Kosgey seems to have taken a distinctively independent path.

In extensive presentations, Mr Kosgey sought to provide alibi for the days he is alleged to have been in meetings that plotted the attacks on Kikuyu, Kisii and Kamba families in the province.

For instance, he said he was campaigning for ODM in Nyanza Province with party leader Raila Odinga and secretary-general Anyang’ Nyong’o on December 14, 2007, when he was alleged to have been attended a militia planning meeting.

He accused Hague prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo of relying on a single anonymous witness to implicate him in the post-election violence. He termed the prosecutor’s ‘Witness Number Six’ as unreliable.

The MP’s lawyer also asked to be heard in camera five times in three hours to present “crucial documents”.

Mr Oraro said the prosecution had failed to get more witnesses to corroborate the claims. He challenged Mr Moreno-Ocampo to prove that his client exercised control over the so-called perpetrators of the chaos that killed 1,133 people and displaced 650,000 others.

“The prosecutor must also prove that Mr Kosgey had the knowledge of a so-called common plan that included murders, persecution and deportations,” Mr Oraro told the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Mr Oraro asked the court to listen to the defence on the allegation of using Kass FM to spread hate messages in private as he had “confidential documents” to disclose.

Shortly after, Mr Kosgey asked the Chamber to hear him in private.

After the second private session, Mr Oraro said the prosecution had failed to link his client to the Emo Foundation, which has been accused of funding the chaos.

“It is no exaggeration to state that the foundation of the prosecution linking Mr Kosgey to the ‘Network’ is the planning meetings. Mr Kosgey never attended these meetings,” Mr Oraro said before requesting another private session.

He said Mr Kosgey did not attend the meetings as his name was not on the list of participants.

“I ask a critical question, are there substantial grounds to believe that a meeting with the agenda of planning the acts can be convened and not be attended by Mr Kosgey if he is a co-perpetrator?”

He said only one witness claimed Mr Kosgey attended a meeting allegedly held on December 14, 2007. He then requested for another private session.

The lawyer also said that his client was cooperating with the ICC.

“This chamber should take into account that there was at no time any request, either by the prosecutor or the Kenya Police, for any statement from the suspect,” said Mr Oraro.

Meanwhile, lawyer David Cooper for Mr Ruto tabled statements by witness Henry Kiptoo Murei as ordered on Saturday. (READ: Witnesses deny claims that violence was planned at Ruto home)

Presiding judge Trendafilova said the chamber received the statements by Mr Ruto’s second witness, adding that he would not be recalled.

Follow the proceedings via live video stream and live text blogging here: www.nation.co.ke/ICCLive