Arusha, April 8, 2011 (FH) - For the first time this week Kenyans appeared before a Pre-Trial Chamber at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. They are suspected of crimes against humanity for their role in the violence which erupted after the Presidential election in December, 2007.

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Three out of the six men who appeared before ICC on Thursday were former Education Minister, William Ruto, former Minister for Industrialization, Henry Kosgey and journalist, Joshua Arap Sang. ICC judges said a hearing would be held in early September to decide whether the men would stand trial.

The second group which was expected to appear on Friday afternoon before the same court involves Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Uhuru Kenyatta, Head of Civil Service, Francis Muthaura and former Police Chief, Mohammed Hussein Ali.

All are charged with crimes against humanity in respect of the post-election violence in Kenya in which 1,220 people were killed, 3,500 injured and over 350,000 were displaced in 30 days.

Wednesday at the ICC, in the case of former Congolese rebel  leader Jean Pierre Bemba, the Prosecutor General of the Central African Republic, Firmin Feindiro said helicopters of Libyan President, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi were implicated in the conflict and supported Bemba's troops.

In 2002 and 2003, Bemba's troops supported Ange-Felix Patassé, then President in the Central African state who was fighting  François Bozizé, now President of the country . During the period in question Bemba's men committed crimes against humanity.

At last, a Trial Chamber at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) declared on Thursday that the defence case of former minister of Youth Callixte Nzabonimana was officially closed, with the exception of the hearing of two French witnesses whose identity was not disclosed.

If they appear in court, the two French would testify about the presence of the accused at the French embassy in Kigali between April  7 and 11, 1994.

The Chamber also allowed the prosecutor to hear one more rebuttal witness.

Nzabonimana is facing five charges of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, extermination and murder. The Prosecution presents him as the main instigator of the killings in his home prefecture of Gitarama.


 © Hirondelle News Agency