Kenya: ICC Suspect Uhuru Blocks 3 Witness Names

DEPUTY Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta has finally succeeded in stopping the ICC from revealing the names of three people who allegedly attended meetings with him in 2007 and 2008.

Yesterday the ICC trial judges led by Kuniko Ozaki allowed the three names to be blacked out before the document is posted on the ICC website.

The document shows where the prosecution and defence agree or disagree on certain facts. It is now expected to go online this week. In August Uhuru’s lawyers protested at the posting of the document on the ICC website by Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.

Uhuru argued that posting the document online was “inappropriate” because it had detailed submissions on evidential issues that might work against him.

The court then ordered that the document be removed from the website pending a ruling on the names. On September 14 Uhuru formally applied to have the three names ‘redacted’ and kept “confidential”.

Uhuru argued that “given the heightened media attention on the Kenya cases … a public filing of the observation chart could contaminate and/or influence potential witness testimony.”

Ordinarily it is the prosecution that seeks to conceal the name of witnesses rather than the defendant. In their ruling yesterday, the judges said Uhuru had offered sufficient justification for why the three names should be withheld from the public.

“In particular, the chamber notes that the information in question was redacted in the Confirmation Decision and considers that it is appropriate for this redaction to remain in place unless and until the reasoning justifying its application changes, due to a change in circumstances,” they said.

In his plea, Uhuru had argued that the names of the three were previously redacted and wondered why the prosecutor revealed them in this instance.

Two of the unnamed persons allegedly attended planning meetings at State House on November 26, 2007 and December 30, 2007 and at Nairobi Club on January 3, 2008.

The November 26 meeting was an initial meeting to seek Mungiki support for PNU, according to the ICC. Retaliatory violence in Naivasha and Nakuru was planned at the December 30 and January 3 meetings, according to the ICC.

The two individuals were specifically mentioned by the controversial Witness number 4 as Mungiki members. The third individual is a contact person whom Uhuru allegedly introduced to Mungiki leaders on December 30 to help in coordination of the retaliatory attacks in Nakuru.

According to information already in the public domain, the meetings were attended by Uhuru, his co-accused the former Cabinet Secretary Francis Muthaura and the late Mungiki operative Maina Diambo who disappeared mysteriously in 2009.

President Kibaki, former State House comptroller Hyslop Ipu, Presidential Press Unit head Isaiya Kabira and former state house operative Stanley Murage attended the initial State House meeting of November 26, according to the ICC.

Youth activists led by Ambassador Yvonne Khamati earlier this year said that they attended the November 26 meeting but only as a lobby supporting the re-election of Kibaki and not as Mungiki.

The ICC prosecutor claims that Muthaura called former Police Commissioner Hussein Ali during the January 3 meeting and instructed him to let the “youths” to go to Rift Valley.

The court did not confirm crimes against humanity charges against Ali. Uhuru is charged with crimes against humanity along with Muthaura, Eldoret North MP William Ruto and broadcaster Joshua Sang. Their trials start on April 10 and 11 next year.

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