Africa

Kenyan body's fingerprints 'not ICC witness Meshack Yebei'

Meschak Yebei with his son in Kenya
Image caption Meschak Yebei was killed on a visit to see his son and pregnant wife

Kenyan police say a body found dead in a river earlier this month may not be that of the witness linked to the International Criminal Court (ICC) case of Deputy President William Ruto.

Meshack Yebei went missing on 28 December and his family later identified his mutilated body.

But fingerprints taken from the body do not match those of Mr Yebei, police investigator John Kariuki has said.

DNA tests will now be carried out to make certain, he said.

Mr Ruto denies charges of crimes against humanity in relation to the violence which erupted after Kenya's 2007 elections.

Lawyers for Mr Ruto have said that Mr Yebei was to have been a witness for the defence.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption William Ruto denies orchestrating some of the violence that followed disputed elections in 2007

The ICC said Mr Yebei was implicated in efforts to corrupt prosecution witnesses in the case against Mr Ruto and another defendant, Joshua Sang.

The court said that Mr Yebei had been offered protection in a safe location but had returned to visit his family in Eldoret - a town in western Kenya which had been badly hit by the post-poll violence.

The body of the man thought to be Mr Yebei was found about 40km (25 miles) from his home in a river, caught up between some rocks.

Mr Ruto, whose trial resumed this week, is the most senior government official to be tried by The Hague-based court since its formation more than a decade ago.

The ICC dropped similar charges against President Uhuru Kenyatta last month, alleging that prosecution witnesses had been intimidated and had changed their testimony.

Mr Kenyatta said he was innocent and the prosecution had no case against him.

Mr Ruto and Mr Kenyatta were on opposite sides in the 2007 election but formed an alliance for the 2013 poll which propelled them into power.

Some 1,200 people died and 600,000 fled their homes in the conflict after the earlier election.

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