The Hague, September 1st, 2011 (FH) - Confirmation of charges hearings opened on Thursday before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the cases of William Ruto, Henry Kosgey and Joshua Sang with Prosecution and Defence arguing about whether the three men "planned" post-electoral violence in Kenya in 2007.

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The defendants, who appeared freely before the court, are suspected of crimes against humanity committed in the aftermath of Kenya's Presidential election in December 2007.

Hearings are expected to last until September 12th. The Prosecution seeks to convince the judges the three men should be tried before the ICC.

According to the Prosecution, crimes "were the result of a plan. Crimes were not spontaneous. The perpetrators were not opportunists, they were following a plan" allegedly elaborated before 2007 by the two main suspects, William Ruto and Henry Kosgey.

Their intention was to consolidate their power and build "a platform for their political carriers", the Prosecutor claimed.

He further argued that the plan was to attack supporters of the reelected President Mwai Kibaki as soon as the results of the election would be announced: "Targets were identified before the attacks", he explained. "Direct perpetrators were trained in advance and received weapons. Some of them were designated to lead the attack".

Perpetrators were allegedly paid by Ruto and Kosgey. The Prosecutor claims that he has evidence of eight meetings organized well before December 2007 to plan the attacks.

Ruto's Defence lawyer Kioko Musau told a different story. Violence was "spontaneous", he claimed. "Authors of the crimes should be punished but the process to identify the perpetrators must be done in appropriate way (...) A professional investigation need to be carried out", he added.

According to him, the Prosecution has no evidence to prove the funding of the attacks by Ruto and Kosgey. He also highlighted that most of the Prosecution's witnesses were anonymous.

"What happened in 2007 was a blow to many Kenyans but a bigger blow to me", William Ruto said when he took the stand. "In my constituency, many people who had actually voted for me, who were actually my supporters, died. And here I am in this court to suffer another jeopardy after what I had to go through".

Co-accused Joshua Sang reminded the Court that he was a " professional journalist". "I have my diploma, and I know all the ethics of media. I would never think in a minute to kill anybody, because I respect sanctity of life", he said repeating he had never participated in the killings.


© Hirondelle News Agency