Bensouda links Ruto’s allies to Kiambaa church attack that left 35 dead

Deputy President William Ruto and former nominated MP Mark Too at a function in 2008. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • However, the public document that was published on November 27 is heavily redacted and the actual roles of some alleged network members are blacked out.

  • Mr Chemalan was a youth leader and ODM candidate in Kiambaa and according to Witness P-0536, he led approximately 3,000 armed Kalenjin youth who attacked the church on January 1, 2008. 

International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has accused former Kanu power broker Mark Too of involvement in the Kiambaa church attack during the 2007/8 post-election violence.

Ms Bensouda, in a response to Deputy President William Ruto’s and Joshua Sang’s motion, alleges that Mr Too was a member of the network set up by Mr Ruto to commit the crimes.

Defence teams for Mr Ruto and Mr Sang’ have filed motions requesting the Trial Chamber to find that there is no case to answer and to dismiss the charges against both and acquit them of the crimes against humanity charges they are being tried for in The Hague.

According to the prosecutor, other network members were Jackson Kibor, Farouk Kibet (Mr Ruto’s long-time personal aide), Christopher Kitino Kisorio, John K. Tanui, Isaac Maiyo, another Isaac Maiyo who has since passed on, Samuel Ruto, Solomon Tirop, Lucas Sang’, former Mt Elgon MP Fred Kapondi, Stephen Chemalan and Mr Sang’. This group, according to Ms Bensouda, formed a second-tier of the ad hoc hierarchy and as such reported to Mr Ruto.

The network, she said, played different roles within the organisation “but all pursued one common plan — to expel Kikuyus and other PNU supporters from the Rift Valley by whatever means necessary. They ensured that the network had political leadership, a media platform, necessary financial and logistical resources, as well as adequately trained manpower.”

In submissions dated November 26, 2015 by Ms Bensouda opposing the no-case-to answer motions, the prosecution also gives the alleged roles of the other network members.

However, the public document that was published on November 27 is heavily redacted and the actual roles of some alleged network members are blacked out.

“Mark Too was a wealthy Kalenjin farmer, who owned farms, livestock and lorries. He had once been an MP. Evidence confirms that Mr Ruto and Too knew each other prior to the PEV, and that their relations were good in 2007,” Ms Bensouda says in her application opposing Mr Ruto’s and Mr Sang’s request for termination of the case at this stage.

PLANNING

“The evidence establishes that the network — through the direct involvement of Mr Ruto and Kibor — orchestrated and directed the attack on Kiambaa with the help of local network member Mark Too. Once again the organised pattern of the attack — including the significant number of armed Kalenjin youth involved — points to prior planning by the network,” the prosecutor states.

Mr Chemalan was a youth leader and ODM candidate in Kiambaa and according to Witness P-0536, he led approximately 3,000 armed Kalenjin youth who attacked the church on January 1, 2008. 

Thirty-five people who had taken refuge in the church died.

“They (attackers) arrived from two directions, some with their faces disguised with clay, P-0536 saw Chemalan, Kimei Bor, Emmanuel Bor, and Brown among the attackers.”

According to the prosecutor, Mr Kibet, who remains a close associate of Mr Ruto, relayed instructions from the DP to the Kalenjin youth on the ground in Turbo while Solomon Tirop acted as youth leader in the attack on Turbo and relayed orders from Mr Ruto.

Samuel Ruto, who was then ODM’s councillor-elect for Kimumu ward and a political ally of the DP, was implicated in the attack on Kimumu and Mr Sang’ used his show Lene Emet “to diffuse anti-PNU/Kikuyu rhetoric in the form of derogatory language and hate speech; instructed the Kalenjin to go out and ‘demonstrate’ following the election results (and) coordinated the efforts on the ground through his reports on KASS FM.”

“The attack on Kimumu by the Kalenjin youth on December 31 was conducted in an organised and surgical manner – with the help of network members Jackson Kibor, Samuel Ruto and [REDACTED]. In line with the network’s common plan Kalenjin youth – many of which had been bussed into the area from Ziwa and other Kalenjin villages – attacked the Kikuyu and destroyed their property.  The prosecution submits that the attack was the direct result of the general preparatory meetings and more specifically those held by network members in [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] in the days prior to the attack,” states Ms Bensouda.

LORRIES

The prosecution submits that Mr Kibor had been campaigning for Mr Ruto since 2002 and was regarded as one of Mr Ruto’s right hand men. His lorries were also allegedly used to transport attackers.

On the other hand, Mr Maiyo was the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) chairman for Eldoret North when Mr Ruto was the area MP. He was also the ODM coordinator for the 2007 elections.

“As such, he supervised the ODM nominations in the North Rift area,” states Ms Bensouda. It is alleged that cows that were stolen from the victims in Yamumbi were kept at Mr Maiyo’s home. He also hosted the attackers in his home as well as the lorries that were used to transport them.

“(Witness) P-0423 testified that Mr Maiyo had attended a secret, Nandi-only ‘large scale meeting’ for Mr Ruto in Kapsaret forest, during which it was stated that whether or not the ODM would win, the Kikuyu had to leave. This meeting was also attended by Kibor and Mr Ruto himself. Also, P-0423 testified that at the “time of the events that unfolded” he heard that Mr Ruto had sent policemen to protect Mr Maiyo’s residence and farm,” states Ms Bensouda.

Ms Bensouda submits that both defence motions fail to meet the applicable legal standard for a successful “no-case-to-answer” motion, as previously determined by the chamber and should be dismissed. In the filing, the prosecution submits that it has sufficient evidence to convict Mr Ruto and Mr Sang for crimes against humanity.

The submissions come at a time there is heightened talk of four more Kenyans having been served with sealed warrants of arrest by the Hague court for witness tampering.

The four, according to our sources, are a businessman with insurance interests, two close aides and a businessman who has vast interests in the fuel sector and who allegedly lured Meshack Yebei, who was expected to testify in the case against the DP, to his death in March.

ICC spokesman Fadi el Abdallah was non-committal about the additional arrest warrants.

“With relation to your first question, Maria (Kamara, ICC Outreach coordinator in Kenya and Uganda) and myself have access only to public documents and decisions, thus we cannot respond to answer about alleged sealed documents,” Mr Abdallah told the Sunday Nation in an interview.

WALTER BARASA

Information independently accessed by the Sunday Nation says that the four received their warrants of arrest more than a month ago.

ICC has already indicted former journalist Walter Osapiri Barasa, the chairman of the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB) Paul Gicheru and Philip Kipkoech Bett for offences against the administration of justice by corruptly influencing prosecution witnesses.

They have gone to court in Kenya to challenge the warrants against them and the cases are pending.

The defence teams for Mr Ruto and Mr Sang have asked the Trial Chamber to dismiss the charges against their clients and acquit them saying the evidence the prosecution witnesses adduced was largely hearsay.

In their no case to answer motions, they also argue that most of the witnesses were compromised by political and civil society actors in Kenya.

“… nothing in the Trial and/or R68 evidence considered above provides sufficient evidence of the existence of a highly organised, “coordinated” group “under single leadership” with “an established structure”, including “political, media, financial, tribal and military components” each of which “was entrusted with detailed tasks in planning, preparing, and implementing the common plan”, and with the “necessary means” to commit  the crimes charged. This is what the OTP stated it would prove. It has failed,” Mr Ruto argued in his no case to answer motion of October 26.

In addition, the DP as well as Mr Sang said there was no organisational policy as alleged by the prosecution.

“Contrary to the OTP’s theory, the PEV was not committed pursuant to or in furtherance of an ‘organisational policy’. Instead, the evidence led at trial supports the conclusion that the PEV was a spontaneous, nationwide reaction to  the perception that the elections were rigged, rather than being “attributable to one and the same group of Kalenjin perpetrators…following a unified, concerted and pre-determined strategy” at the charged locations in the Uasin Gishu and Nandi Districts.”

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