The International Criminal Court’s (ICC ) Appeals Chamber has rejected the use of recanted evidence in the case against DP William Ruto and Journalist Joshua arap Sang as it is detrimental under rule 68.
What is Rule 68, Here is what You Need to Know About ICC Rule 68
Today’s verdict is major blow against ICC Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, who depended on the recanted evidence of five anti-Ruto witnesses to sustain her case against Ruto and Sang.
The ruling also is a relief to both Ruto and Sang, who had protested the use of withdrawn evidence in their cases.
“The Appeals Chamber found that the application of this rule was retroactive as the trial had started on 10 September 2013, before the amendment to the rule, and detrimental in the sense that the disadvantage, loss, damage or harm to the accused caused by its application negatively affected the overall position of Mr Sang and Mr Ruto in these proceedings,” said Appeal Chamber judge Piotr Hefmanski who delivered the ruling on behalf of the five-bench Appeal judges who handled the appeal case.
“For these reasons, the Appeals Chamber decided to reverse the decision to the extent that prior recorded testimony had been admitted under amended rule 68 for the truth of its contents,” ruled Hefmanski.
The Judge also observed that the application of the amended rule led to restrictions to cross-examine the five witnesses by the accused.
The verdict on whether or not Rule 68 was to be used in the case facing Deputy President William Ruto and radio journalists Joshua Arap Sang weighs so much on the sustainability of the cases facing the two Kenyans.
The ruling will send ICC Chief Prosecutor back to the drawing board to ascertain if she could get enough evidence to sustain the cases.
Ruto and Sang’s defense teams told the court that it erred when it admitted the use of recanted evidence of the five crucial witnesses who had withdrawn or recanted their testimonies.
The prosecution team, on the other hand, opposed the application on grounds that the five witnesses were intimidated or bribed to ensure that the case collapses.
The controversial Rule 68 has not only been opposed by Ruto and Sang’s defense teams but has also been criticized by the African Union which has accused the ICC of violating an agreement made during the Assembly of States Parties.