The Hague, January 23, 2012 (FH) - The International Criminal Court has confirmed crimes against humanity charges against four out of six Kenyans accused in connection with post-electoral violence in 2007-2008, it announced today. They include Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former Education Minister William Ruto, who both intend to run for the next presidential elections in 2013.

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The court also confirmed charges against cabinet secretary Francis Muthaura and Kass FM journalist Joshua Sang. However, it declined to confirm charges against former police chief Hussein Ali and former Industry Minister Henry Kosgey, saying the prosecutor had not presented enough evidence.

The judges did not issue any arrest warrants and the four accused remain free. However, the court warned that "their continued liberty is subject to their non-engagement in incitement to violence or hate speech".

"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 hostility," said presiding judge Ekaterina Trendafilova. She stressed that the accused remain innocent until proven guilty.

Ruto is to be tried alongside journalist Sang, while Kenyatta is to be tried jointly with Muthaura. No dates have yet been set. The first pair are considered close to the Orange Democratic Movement of current Prime Minister Raila Odinga. It was the announcement that ODM had lost the elections that sparked the 2007-2008 violence, which left more than one thousand people dead and many more displaced. Kenyatta and Muthaura are  considered close to the Party of National Unity of President Mwai Kibaki, who was re-elected in the disputed 2007 presidential elections but cannot run again.

Charges confirmed against Ruto and Sang relate to crimes committed between December 30, 2007 and the end of January 2008 in the Eldoret region. The judges found that the prosecutor "has established substantial grounds to believe that crimes against humanity of murder, deportation or forcible transfer and persecution were committed" and that these crimes were committed "as part of an attack directed against particular groups, namely Kikuyu, Kamba and Kisii, due to their perceived political affiliation to the Party of National Unity". The court confirmed the charges against Ruto as an "indirect co-perpetrator", while Sang "contributed to the commission of said crimes against humanity".

Charges against Kenyatta and Muthaura were confirmed in relation to a revenge attack. Judges said there were "substantial grounds to believe that between 24 and 28 January 2008 there was an attack against the civilian residents of Nakuru and Naivasha perceived as supporters of the Orange Democratic Movement, in particular those belonging to the Luo, Luhya and Kalenjin ethnic groups". Kenyatta and Muthaura are charged as indirect co-perpetrators, "having gained control over the Mungiki and directed them to commit the crimes". The Mungiki is a notorious gang.

German judge Hans-Peter Kaul issued a dissenting opinion. He maintained that the ICC is not competent because "the crimes committed on the territory of the Republic of Kenya during the post-election violence of 2007-2008 in his view were serious common crimes under Kenyan criminal law but not crimes against humanity as codified in Article 7 of the Rome Statute".


© Hirondelle News Agency