Eldoret North MP William Ruto

The International Criminal Court has now stepped in to acquaint itself with a court case that pits Ruto against an IDP over a large tract of land the MP acquired after post-election violence.

ICC Head of Investigation has formally written to the Government on behalf of Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo.

In a letter to Internal Security Minister George Saitoti dated March 22, the ICC Head of Investigation Division, Mr Michael De Smedt noted that they had learnt of the existence of a civil case between Andrew Gilbert Muteshi and Ruto over a land dispute.

Saitoti has forwarded the request to Attorney General Githu Muigai seeking to have the Ruto case file for onward transmission to ICC.

Smedt said the case might contain information that is relevant to Ocampo’s investigations into the conduct of Ruto during the period of post-election violence.

“The OTP hereby request the assistance of the competent authorities of the Republic of Kenya to transmit the following documents,” he added.

According to the ICC request, they want to be furnished with a copy of the full civil case file containing all documents filed in the case between Muteshi and Ruto concerning the disputed land in Uasin Gishu District.

Ocampo is also seeking copies of new or additional documents that would be added to the case file subsequent to the execution of this request.

Smedt promised that all information given to the prosecutor’s office would be dealt with confidentially.

“In accordance with Article 87(3) of the Rome Statute, the competent authorities of Kenya are requested to keep the request for assistance and any supporting documentation confidential except to the extent that disclosure is necessary for the execution of the request,” he added.

Smedt further appealed to the Government to treat the matter with the utmost urgency so as to facilitate investigation by the prosecutor’s office.

Last week, Ruto beat a hasty about-turn following a pledge he had made to return the 100-acre piece of land he allegedly acquired illegally from Muteshi.

The change of heart occurred after the minster and the IDP failed to agree on certain conditions.

The case is now set to go to a full hearing paving way for tabling of details on how Ruto acquired the land in Kaptebei Settlement Scheme.

On Monday last week, Muteshi who was allegedly forcibly evicted from the piece of land, told a court that Ruto, who had agreed to surrender the land and relinquish the title deed for the property he bought from a woman, said he was not ready to accept that he acquired it illegally.

Muteshi had indicated through his lawyer Anthony Lubulela that he would only accept the property back if Ruto also catered for the expenses he incurred filing the case.

Due to failure to record an agreement before High Court Judge Lady Justice Rose Ougo as ordered two weeks ago, the judge ordered the matter to be heard on April 25 and 26.

By Martin Mutua, The Standard

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