World News
Kenya orders probe into ICC witness murder

Kenyan prosecutors have ordered an investigation into the murder of a witness in the International Criminal Court (ICC) trial of Kenyan Vice President William Ruto, who is accused of masterminding post-election killings in 2007.

Meshack Yebei, described by Ruto’s lawyer as a “critical” witness for the politician’s defence case, was found dead, and badly mutilated according to some reports, on January 4 in western Kenya’s Nandi district.

Kenya’s Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko ordered the probe in a letter to police seen by the AFP news agency on Tuesday.

The order calls for a “speedy and thorough investigation to be conducted into the murder with a view of bringing those responsible to justice,” AFP reported.

Yebei disappeared on December 28 and a week later the local businessman’s body was discovered in a river.

The Hague-based ICC said it was “deeply concerned” by the death and was ready to assist the Kenyan probe.

“The family of Mr Yebei has confirmed the identity of his body,” the ICC said in a statement.

“We express our profound condolences to the family.”

The ICC stressed that Yebei was not on its prosecution witness list, but that he had been offered “security measures, including a safe residency”.

Despite the offer, Yebei “returned to Eldoret (in Nandi) where the incident reportedly took place,” the ICC said in a statement.

“Ensuring the safety and security of witnesses is a cornerstone of fair trials,” said ICC registrar Herman von Hebel.

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