Whichever side you support, or indeed even you support neither side, and whatever you view of the truth of the matter, it is difficult not view the current proceedings at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague as almost daily descending into farce.
BBC TRANSCRIPTS USED IN SANG’S DEFENCE
On Tuesday the defence lawyers for journalist and Kass FM presenter Joshua arap Sang came up with what looks like a fairly solid piece of evidence by producing a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) media monitoring report that seems to absolve Sang, at least in part.
The report stated that the “Vernacular radio station (Kass FM) urges listeners not to join opposition in protest”.
Earlier, prosecution witness ‘P286’ had said that following the 2007 election results being announced, Sang had urged Kalenjins to join protests against the results and had given out over the air schedules of ODM meetings asking listeners to attend and to go out and demonstrate.
Witness P286 said he had heard this but not, it seems, over the radio but rather from a third-party source.
SANG CALLED FOR PEACE BUT IN WRONG “TONE”?
Sang’s lawyer Katwa Kigen then produced a transcript of the Kass FM programme that appeared to be ‘dedicated to prayer and Bible reading’. Another transcript of a broadcast from February 7, 2008, had Sang declaring that the Kalenjin community would not protect even ‘one of their own’ if they were involved in bloodshed, according to the BBC report. Yet another transcript had Sang calling for peace.
What was witness P286’s response to this? He agreed with the accuracy of the BBC reports but said, “Yes, but the tone is that of an aggrieved person. It is not the tone of the happy man”.
Even if this is true the Kenya Forum was under the impression that being “aggrieved”, even not being happy, was not an offence, against humanity or otherwise.
SECRET WITNESS, SECRET SOURCES
Another day, another nameless witness but this time one that cited nameless sources to support his/her testimony.
The seventh witness to be put on the stand by the prosecution, ‘Witness 423’, yesterday told the court that he had seen bows and arrows, and rocks, being prepared before the election for later attacks on Kikuyus in the area. This he had seen at the house of ‘Number Two’. There had also been a ‘feast’ held for Kalenjin youths at the house of ‘Number Three’.
So we have unnamed witness telling the court of what he says he saw at the houses of unnamed Kalenjins. The Kenya Forum asks, does this really amount to evidence?
WITNESS 423 – DID NOT ATTEND RALLIES BUT HEARD…
Witness 423 went on to recount what had been allegedly been said at ODM political rallies, where speakers had supposedly referred to Kikuyus as “whites”, “foreigners” and “strangers” that “had to be removed from the land”.
If true, that’s terrible and damning, says the Kenya Forum. But had Witness 423 been at the rallies? No, but he said he had been told by “Number One”! That used to be called ‘hearsay’ and, again, used to be inadmissible in pretty much every reputable court the Forum can think of.
Finally, trial judge Chile Eboe-Osuji warned Witness 423 against testifying on matters he had not personally witnessed. “Just tell us the truth from what you experienced and not what you had been told”, said the good judge.
Quite so, says the Kenya Forum, but it still looks like a farce at the moment.