Senior officials to face ICC trial over Kenya violence

 

Four leading Kenyans have been ordered to stand trial at the International Criminal Court accused of planning the deadly wave of violence that followed the 2007 presidential election.

They included deputy prime minister and finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former education minister William Ruto, who are planning to run for the presidency this year.

More than 1,000 people were killed in post-election violence in Kenya after police ejected observers from the centre where votes were being tallied and the electoral body declared President Mwai Kibaki the winner.

Ruto was ordered to stand trial with radio broadcaster Joshua Arap Sang for crimes against humanity allegedly targeting Kibaki supporters. Another suspect, former minister of industrialisation Henry Kiprono Kosgey, was cleared of charges.

In a separate case, Kenyatta will stand trial alongside cabinet secretary Francis Muthaura for alleged crimes against humanity directed at supporters of Prime Minister Raila Odinga. A third suspect in the case, former police commissioner Maj. Gen. Mohammed Hussein Ali, was cleared of the charges.

None of the suspects were in court in the Hague for the half-hour hearing at which Presiding Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova read out a summary of the decision on charges including murder, persecution and deportation. The hearing was broadcast live in Kenya.

Prosecutors have said the decision to launch an ICC investigation in Kenya should help ease tensions, but there are fears a decision on prosecuting the suspects could have the opposite effect and spark renewed fighting.

"It is our utmost desire that the decisions issued by this chamber today bring peace to the people of the Republic of Kenya and prevent any sort of hostilities," Ms Trendafilova said.

It is unclear whether the case could block Ruto and Kenyatta's presidential ambitions, since government officials have issued conflicting statements on whether they will remain eligible to run.

Ms Trendafilova stressed that the decisions do not mean guilty verdicts against the suspects, only that there is sufficient evidence to send them to trial.

Rights groups welcomed the ruling.

"Today's decisions move forward the search for justice for those who lost their lives and their homes in Kenya's 2007-2008 election violence," Human Rights Watch said. "The ICC trials will break with decades of impunity in Kenya for political violence, but Kenya should act to widen accountability by carrying out prosecutions at home."

The ICC prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, launched his investigation in 2010 only after Kenya's parliament failed to agree to set up a national tribunal to prosecute perpetrators of post-election violence.

Kenyatta is the son of Kenya's founding president, and the 50-year-old is also the country's richest citizen with a personal fortune of half a billion dollars. Ruto is a former ally of Odinga, but the two fell out - partly over Ruto's insistence on making his own presidential bid this year.

Both Kenyatta and Ruto come from powerful ethnic groups. Kenyatta is Kikuyu, the ethnic group with the highest numbers and the one that has produced two of the country's three presidents. Ruto is a Kalenjin, the ethnic group that produced Kenya's longest-serving president, Daniel arap Moi, who recruited many of his fellow Kalenjin into the security services.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist / Physio / Osteopath

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for o...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Sales Executive - Contract Hire

£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most