Kenya: International Criminal Court Case Against Officials for Poll Violence to Proceed

Photo: Joan Pereruan/Nation
Eldoret North MP William Ruto, center, walks out of the ICC at The Hague after his initial appearance. (file photo)

The International Criminal Court (ICC) today dismissed an appeal by the Kenyan Government to throw out the cases against six high-ranking national officials, including a deputy prime minister, two ministers and a police chief, for possible crimes against humanity in post-electoral violence more than three years ago.

The ICC appeals chamber ruled that no legal, factual or procedural error could be discerned in the pre-trial chamber's decisions in May to proceed with the cases.

The six are: Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance; William Samoei Ruto, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology; Henry Kiprono Kosgey, Minister of Industrialization; Joshua Arap Sang, Head of Operations for KASS FM radio station; Francis Kirimi Muthaura, Head of the Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet; and Mohamed Hussein Ali, Police Commissioner at the time of the violence.

More than 1,100 people were killed, 3,500 injured and up to 600,000 forcibly displaced in the violence that followed the December 2007 elections. There were also hundreds of rapes, possibly more, and at least 100,000 properties were destroyed in six of Kenya's eight provinces, according to ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo.

Appeals chamber presiding judge Daniel David Ntanda Nsereko explained that for the cases to be inadmissible a national investigation must be ongoing, covering the same individuals and substantially the same conduct as alleged before the ICC.

The chamber ruled that the pre-trial chamber made no error when it found that the Government had failed to provide sufficient evidence to substantiate that it was investigating the six suspects for the crimes alleged in the ICC summonses.

The pre-trial chamber found reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Kenyatta, Mr. Muthaura, Mr. Kosgey and Mr. Ruto were criminally responsible as indirect co-perpetrators for murder, forcible transfer and persecution, and also for rape and other inhumane acts in the case of the first two.

It found that while there were not reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Sang and Mr. Ali were indirect co-perpetrators, there were such grounds to believe that they otherwise contributed to the alleged crimes.

Mr. Ruto has been suspended and Mr. Kosgey has stepped aside from the ministerial positions because of issues not related to the ICC.

Earlier this year Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon discussed the cases with Kenyan Vice-President Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka at UN Headquarters in New York.

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