Kenyans face International Criminal Court for 2007 massacre

Leading Kenyans have appeared before the International Criminal Court to answer for 2007 bloodshed

Kenya was at the brink of Civil War after unrest in 2007
The Commentator
On 7 April 2011 23:49

William Ruto, Joseph Arap Sang and Henry Kosgey have appeared before the International Criminal Court at the Hague, accused of potential 'crimes against humanity' in Kenya in 2007.  Post-election unrest took the lives of over 1,200 people in Kenya as the country battled grave political unrest.

Cabinet secretary Francis Muthaura, former policeman Hussein Alifinance and Uhuru Kenyatta, another former minister are also due to appear on Friday on charges including rape and murder.  Political violence in 2007 escalated into tribal and ethnic bloodshed as President Mwai Kibaki claimed re-election.  Kenya has more than 40 tribes within its borders and has suffered from political and ethnic violence in previous years.

During the hearing, William Ruto, a suspended minister for higher education, broke with ICC protocol and announced his confusion.  "The allegations that have been made here, it sounds that they are only possible in a movie," Ruto told the court, dismissing the charges as "stories from the prosecutor and his team".  He was reprimanded by Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova, however Ruto insisted upon his innocence and the 'choreographed' nature of the ICC trial.  He went on to say, "Kenyans know we have been framed. We will continue to say we are innocent. If there is anything I will do, I will continue to demonstrate to everybody that I am innocent. We will demonstrate that the whole of this story was a set-up."

EU monitors had previously raised concerns with the credibility of Kibaki's re-election, however those brought before the ICC have insisted their trials be carried out in Kenya; a request which does not correlate to a recent poll of Kenyans which showed 61% public support for the Hague trials.  The ICC case emerged after Nairobi failed to set up a tribunal of its own in line with agreements brokered by former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan to end the post-vote chaos.

"You cannot commit atrocities to gain power or to retain power," ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told journalists after the hearing.  "You cannot do it in Kenya, you cannot do it in Libya and you cannot do it in other parts of the world."

The trials continue.


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