Nairobi — Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Arap Sang have pleaded 'not guilty' to charges of murder, deportation (forcible transfer) and persecution of people in Kenya's 2007-8 poll violence, all constituting crimes against humanity.
Ruto is accused as an indirect co-perpetrator as being criminally responsible for the murder, deportation and persecution of individuals who were seen as supporters of the Party of National Unity in the Rift Valley.
According to the charges, Ruto financed young men to carry out the crimes and even provided logistical support like weapons; transport and food to enable them carry out the crimes.
Ruto, who at some point smirked as the charges were being read out to him, is also accused of mobilising supporters to go to war for him as an 'anointed leader of the Kalenjin people'.
"William Samoei Ruto you have been charged in count one constituting a crime against humanity under Article Seven 1(a) and Article 25 3(a) of the Rome Statute. How do you plead guilty or not guilty?" posed Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji while reading out one of the charges.
"Not guilty," responded Ruto to all the three judges.
Thirty eight-year old Sang is on the other hand accused of using his former position at KASS FM to broadcast false news that some Kalenjin people had been killed in order to fan the already volatile situation.
He was also accused of using his show 'Lenee Emet' to mobilise young men and urge them to attack perceived enemies of the Kalenjin people for political gain.
"Joshua arap Sang you have been charged in count four with murder constituting a crime against humanity under Article Seven 1(a) and Article 25 3(d) of the Rome. How do you plead guilty or not guilty?" posed Judge Eboe-Osuji.
"Not guilty," responded Sang.
According to the charges, Sang used coded derogatory words to refer to the enemy communities including the Kikuyu, Kamba and Kisii people in the plans to expel them.
Some of these terms were 'madoadoa', 'kimoriok', and 'kamama'.
Ruto and Sang are also accused of creating a network of perpetrators which by 2008 had conducted "not less than nine preparatory meetings and events" in which they planned attacks on PNU supporters.
The network is said to have recruited and established groups of direct perpetrators to carry out attacks around December 30, 2007 to January 2008 in Turbo town, Kapsabet town, Nandi Hills and the greater Eldoret area in Kiambaa, Yamumbi, Huruma and Kimumu.