[JURIST] The International Criminal Court [official website] on Thursday granted the prosecution’s request to subpoena eight Kenyan witnesses [decision, PDF; press release] in the trial of Kenyan Vice President William Ruto [ICC materials; JURIST news archive]. The witnesses are no longer cooperating and are not willing to testify against Ruto, which caused the court to urge the government of Kenya to serve the witnesses with subpoenas and ensure they appear in court. The witnesses could appear by video-link if necessary. In a statement, the court asked the Kenyan government to “make appropriate arrangements for the security of the eight witnesses until they appear before the court.” Ruto denies all allegations of war crimes, as does Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta [JURIST news archive]. The Kenyan government has pushed for the cases to be dropped.
Ruto is charged with crimes against humanity for his alleged involvement in inciting the violence that followed the 2007 Kenyan election [JURIST news archive], which led to more than 1,100 deaths. In January the ICC granted [JURIST report] Ruto’s request to be conditionally excused from parts of the ongoing trial against him. In September Ruto pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to all charges. Also that month Kenya’s National Assembly approved a motion [JURIST report] to leave the ICC in response to Ruto’s and Kenyatta’s trials. The ICC decided to continue with the trials despite the vote, having rejected [JURIST report] a request by Kenyan officials to move the trials to Kenya or Tanzania.