A defamation suit in Kenya’s High Court is likely to reopen scrutiny of evidence used against Deputy President William Ruto at the International Criminal Court during his crimes against humanity trial.
Journalist and activist Boniface Mwangi, who has been sued for defamation by Ruto, lists charges and proceedings against at the ICC among 41 documents he intends to use in his defence. Ruto sued Mwangi in September over a Twitter message in which the journalist expressed fears of being killed in the same manner as whistleblower Jacob Juma who was gunned down in May 2016.
Ruto was charged with murder, forcible transfer of populations and torture at the ICC alongside journalist Joshua arap Sang but the case collapsed in what judges termed “intolerable levels of political meddling and troubling incidence of witness interference”. Mwangi seizes on this in court papers, claiming that the case was terminated not by an acquittal but by the systematic disappearance of witnesses, the intimidation of others to recant their testimony and the lack of cooperation by Kenya where Ruto is Deputy President.
Besides the ICC case, Mwangi also claims that Deputy President has not contested public allegations that he strangled a young man with his bare hands. He lists incidents in which Ruto has been named in connection with murder and corruption without contest, and instead files a counter-claim for defamation. Mwangi provides a translation of former Lugari Member of Parliament Cyrus Jirongo as follows:
"A young man came around and hit my vehicle with an arrow. George Kapten rushed out of the car,, pursued the man and pounced on him. We all thought that we had apprehended the man but that day my firend (Ruto) made me believe he was capable of killing when he strangled him before us. Those who were around during that time know that the young msn was killed by Deputy President William Ruto."