31.08.11 - ICC/KENYA - KENYAN POLITICIANS IN THE HAGUE TO FEND OFF GRAVE COURT CHARGES

The Hague, August 31, 2011 (FH) – Three Kenyans, including two senior politicians, have arrived in The Hague ahead of their confirmation of charges hearings due to start Thursday before the International Criminal Court (ICC). Former Higher Education Minister William Ruto, former Minister for Industrialization Henry Kosgey and radio executive Joshua arap Sang are facing charges of crimes against humanity linked to post-electoral violence in 2007 and 2008 which left more than 1,000 people dead. If the ICC confirms the charges they could face incarceration. The hearings are scheduled to run until September 12.  
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As well as being former ministers, Ruto
and Kosgey
are both members of parliament and senior figures in the main opposition
party,
the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). Ruto is a potential candidate for
the 2012
presidential election.  Sang is also a prominent supporter of the ODM.

All three are accused of crimes
against humanity
for murders, persecution and forcible displacement of population
committed
between December 30, 2007 and the end of January 2008. According to an
independent investigation, 1,200 persons were killed, 3,500 wounded and
350,000
displaced because of violence linked to December 2007 presidential
elections.

Following the elections,
ethnic clashes
broke out between supporters of the Party of National Unity (PNU) of
President
Mwai Kibaki, who was proclaimed the winner, and those of ODM candidate
Raila
Odinga, who is now the Prime Minister. The ODM claimed the election had
been
rigged. The violence only ended after a power sharing agreement brokered
by
former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan was signed on February 28, 2008.  

The prosecution states that William
Ruto, Henry
Kosgey and Joshua Sang had a common plan: “There was a plan to punish
PNU
supporters in the event that the 2007 presidential elections were
rigged. The
plan aimed at expelling them from the Rift Valley, with the ultimate
goal of
creating a uniform Orange Democratic Movement voting block”.

Prosecution adds that Ruto was the
head of the
network, Kosgey his treasurer and Joshua Sang the public relations
officer. Sang
is an executive at the Kalenjin language radio station Kass FM in the
Rift
Valley.

ICC Prosecutor Luis
Moreno Ocampo
took the initiative to open an investigation into crimes committed in
Kenya
following 2007 elections, with the support of the United States,
European Union,
United Nations and regional powers like Uganda and Tanzania.

Similar hearings are due to start on
September
21 in the case of Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, secretary to the
cabinet
Francis Kirimi Muthaura and former police chief Mohammed Hussein Ali.

SM/GF/JC

 
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