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Kenyan Suspended Higher Education minister William Ruto Strikes Evidence Deal With ICC Chief

Published on Saturday 6th November 2010 Kenyan Suspended Higher Education minister William Ruto Strikes Evidence Deal With ICC Chief

Suspended Higher Education minister William Ruto on Thursday agreed with International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on rules by which he will give evidence on Friday.

His lawyer, Dr Kithure Kindiki, on Thursday evening told the Daily Nation that they had agreed on the rules and procedure that will enable Mr Ruto to tell what he knows about the violence which occurred immediately after the December 2007 General Election.

He was speaking after Mr Ruto and his team emerged from a meeting with Mr Moreno-Ocampo at The Hague.

"We have had a meeting between counsels, the prosecutor and our client (Mr Ruto) and finalised the procedure which will guide the substantive process that will be done tomorrow (Friday) morning. We want to use the meeting to set the record straight about the perceived role my client played," he said.

Dr Kindiki, who is being assisted by Mr Katwa Kigen, arrived at The Hague on Wednesday, a day ahead of Mr Ruto to discuss the procedure that will be followed in giving the evidence. "We have had a meeting (Thursday) for counsels only and later with the prosecutor to discuss the procedure to be followed," he said.

Mr Ruto was served with adverse notice regarding the election violence, an indication that he was a possible suspect in the ICC's investigation. On Thursday, he arrived at the ICC offices in the company of Belgut MP Charles Keter, Mr Kigen and Dr Kindiki, but was unable to immediately meet Mr Moreno-Ocampo.

The prosecutor had not reported to his office but his officials were on hand to serve the Kenyans. There was some confusion over the exact date and time of Mr Ruto's appointment with Mr Moreno-Ocampo with reports that the prosecutor was waiting for Mr Ruto on Wednesday.

A source close to the Eldoret MP's delegation said: "Ocampo wasn't there in the morning because he waited yesterday (Wednesday) but we are expecting him to join us any time now."

Mr Ruto, who was welcomed by ICC officials, entered the meeting with them at 2pm (11am Hague time) and broke for lunch before resuming the session at 6pm (3pm at The Hague). Details of his presentation to the ICC were not available.

Back home, at least three Cabinet ministers believed to be linked with the election violence are reported to be seeking ways of telling their side of the story to The Hague by Sunday.

A government official conversant with the work of the International Criminal Court in Kenya said two ministers -- one from Party of National Unity and the other from the Orange Democratic Movement -- were working with their legal teams preparing to go before Mr Moreno-Ocampo before the end of the week.

The official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity because of the confidentiality of ICC proceedings, said the PNU minister is said to have asked the prosecutor for a location, date and time of a meeting but he was yet to get a response to his request.

There was some speculation that Mr Moreno-Ocampo had set aside this whole week to hear those adversely mentioned.

The Ruto team said on Wednesday that they expected the ICC prosecutor to conduct his own investigation, rather than relying solely on the work done by the Kriegler and Waki commissions or the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.

This might mean that he could try to persuade Mr Moreno-Ocampo to broaden his investigation beyond the reports by those three.

"We expected Ocampo to come and do his own investigation," a member of the Ruto entourage told the Daily Nation on Wednesday, adding that instead, Mr Ocampo had rounded up 10 witnesses who already gave evidence to Kriegler and Waki.

Mr Ruto was also mentioned in a report on the violence by the Kenya National Commission for Human Rights. He has gone to court to get his name removed from the report.

While the three ministers are said to have responded to the prosecutor's invitation to give evidence, Mr Ruto wrote to the ICC seeking a meeting with them "to settle the perception that he was a key suspect."

On Thursday, one of the ministers is said to have written to Mr Moreno-Ocampo after he learnt that some senior security officers had written to the prosecutor saying they were not ready to take responsibility for orders that were coming from government.

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