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“We Would have nailed Ruto if not for Witness Interference, Ocampo’s Poor Leadership” ICC Says

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The office of the prosecutor at the International Criminals Court (ICC) now says they would have nailed Deputy President William Ruto had it not been for witness interference, lack of government support and poor leadership from then prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo.

In a statement dated 26th November 2019, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said this followed the recommendations of 3 experts they had hired to review the Kenyan cases.

Witness Interference

The report by the experts noted that the witnesses to be used by the prosecution were mainly insiders.
“They were directly contacted, intimidated, bribed and even physically harmed or killed. Their relatives were also contacted and pressured to convince the witnesses to refuse to cooperate”, said a part of the report seen by 254News.

Many witnesses in the ICC cases either recanted their statements or refused to appear in court. This largely led to the collapse of the cases facing President Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto then at the ICC. The report blamed the relocation of most witnesses to one place as a factor that easily led to this.

The government of Kenya was also adversely mentioned in the report for their lack of cooperation.
” They did not support the investigations. They allowed interference with witnesses and surveillance of the investigators”, said the report.
It went ahead to say that the government may have been directly involved in all these.

Ocampo and Prosecutor 1

Also largely blamed for the failure of the cases was the prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo and Prosecutor 1 of the case. Prosecutor 1 was blamed for autocratic leadership not open to contrary assessments or viewpoints. It is said that those who disagreed with him were marginalised and deemed as disloyal.
“Decision making was concentrated primarily around Prosecutor 1 allowing him to micromanage the process. His decisions were mainly non-prosecutorial, aimed at trying to demonstrate the relevance of the ICC to African states. This took precedence over the core mandate of prosecution”, reads the report.

Other issues in Ruto case

Inappropriate staffing was also blamed for the poor prosecution of the cases. It is said that most staffing positions were filled by individuals who did not have the experience and skills to investigate and prosecute such cases against high level suspects.
Prosecutor 1 is also said to have set deadlines that prevented the completion of investigations. Thus, the prosecution was burdened with weak cases and over relied on a few insider witnesses whose evidence could not be verified and who later recanted their statements. This led to the collapse of the cases, mainly that against William Ruto.

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