Arson victim testifies against Ruto
Posted Wednesday, September 18 2013 at 01:00
The witness gave an account of the ordeal she went through during an arson attack on Kiambaa Church.
Behind the cover of the curtains, the first prosecution witness in the post-election violence case against Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto took her seat at the ICC, prevented from the members of the public and media who thronged the public gallery.
Witness P0536, a lady, who said she was from Kimuri village near the Kiambaa church, in Kiambu District, western Kenya, was only visible to the parties inside the Trial Chamber V (a) and was not to mention any of her relatives or neighbours by name. Her voice was also distorted so as to protect her identity. She is allegedly one of the survivours of the Kiambaa church arson attack on January 1, 2008 which left an estimated 35 people dead.
The witness narrated to court that the violence was mated by the Kalenjin youth and that they targeted the Kikuyu community. She told court that she saw the youth surround the church, pour a liquid on the roof of the church and that the men also raped a woman.
“I saw a woman whom I knew pushed on the ground and raped. It was the first time I had seen a rape happen,” she said. She narrated how she undressed to save her brother’s life who had been struck by arrow in the neck. “I decided to take off all my clothes because in the Kalenjin tradition it’s a curse. I wanted to save my brother’s life,” she told court.
The court had taken adequate protective measures to “make the witness feel comfortable” according to the presiding judge Echile Eboe-Osuji. And the court occasionally went into private session. “The witness has been assessed and found to deserve protective measures,” judge Eboe-Osuji said at the beginning. Furthermore, a representative from the Victims and Witness Unit (VWU) sat next to her through.
The witness mentioned her close relatives only by pseudonyms or numbers apportioned to them.
Meanwhile the lead defence counsel for Mr Ruto, Karim Khan wanted the witness to make a written statement that she would not make any false statements, a request that was denied.