The Hague, May 24, 2012 (FH) - Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Thursday refused to cancel the charges brought against four prominent Kenyans accused of orchestrating post-election violence in 2008.

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Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Ambassador Francis Muthaura, Member of Parliament William Ruto and radio journalist Joshua Arap Sang were trying to convince the judges that they had not acted within the frame of an “organization”, thus could not be charged for crimes against humanity.

According to the Court’s Statute, only a State or an “organization” can perpetrate a crime against humanity. Judges had defined earlier in the proceedings an organization as a group which “has the capability to perform acts which infringe on basic human values”.

They added that the existence of such a group had to be decided case by case, after considering factors such as the existence of a hierarchy, effective control of part of the territory, and a policy targeting civilians.

“In its decisions today, the Appeals Chamber indicated that the interpretation and existence of an ‘organizational policy’ relate to the substantive merits of this case as opposed to the issue of whether the Court has subject-matter jurisdiction to consider such questions. These issues relate to whether the Pre-Trial Chamber erred when it confirmed the charges in respect of the accused,” reads part of the appeals chamber decision.

Preliminary hearings are slated for June 11 and 12.