The International Criminal Court has thrown out a case before them against Kenyan Deputy President, William Ruto. Although refusing to acquit him, the court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a trial.
Mr. Ruto had pleaded not guilty to charges leveled against him on the grounds of deportation, murder and persecution which followed the 2007 elections and led to the death of about 1,200 people. Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta who also had similar charges dropped against him in 2014 with the his prosecutor alleging that witnesses had been intimidated to make them change their testimony on the matter had a few words to say about the dismissal. He welcomed the ruling, describing the trial as a “nightmare” for the nation.
The ruling was split with one judge declaring it a mistrial because of a “troubling incidence of witness interference and intolerable political meddling”. The case against Ruto’s co-accused; journalist Joshua arap Sang was likewise dismissed.
With this ruling, we can mark a sad end to international efforts to claim justice for the 1200 people who were killed following the disputed 2007 elections, a conclusion which is sure to come as a blow to the families and friends of the victims who have sought the truth behind what happened, longed to know who was responsible and to also claim compensation.
Upon announcement of the verdict, supporters of William Ruto rejoiced and burst into celebration. The verdict however was not entirely surprising as the prosecution’s case was dogged by various setbacks. In February, judges at the ICC barred the use of recanted testimony, which meant that prior recorded witness statements could not be used by prosecutors. Also, several key witnesses in the case changed their statements, which prosecutors said was due to intimidation and bribery.
Despite this loss, one can only hope that the pain and ethnic rift which persists in Kenya as a result of no one being held accountable for spurring on the violence, widely perceived to have been organised will still be dampened.