Why the ICC case against William Ruto collapsed

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In response to the violence that followed the disputed presidential election of 2007, William Ruto was charged with orchestrating crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC)

Mr Ruto was accused of murder, deportation and persecution – all of which he denied. He was alleged to have played a pivotal role in formulating a plan to attack Party of National Unity supporters by organising and coordinating a campaign of systematic assaults throughout the Rift Valley.

During the trial, according to the prosecution, a number of witnesses were killed, disappeared or withdrew their testimonies.

Defence lawyers alleged that prosecution witnesses were being coached and given financial incentives to testify.

Ultimately the case collapsed, the court ruled there was insufficient evidence to continue with the trial, but it refused to acquit Mr Ruto.

In a split ruling, one judge declared it a mis-trial because of a “troubling incidence of witness interference and intolerable political meddling”.

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The ICC judges said the case may reopen should further evidence come to light.

However, there is a twist in this tale.

Mr Ruto’s former defence lawyer Karim Khan QC is now the ICC’s prosecutor, so bringing new charges against his former client would take the court into unchartered territory – and throw up a whole new set of challenges for both the ICC and Mr Ruto.

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