Kenyan officials suspected of poll violence appear at International Criminal Court

The International Criminal Court Headquarters in The Hague. Photo: ICC

8 April 2011 – Three senior Kenyan officials, including the deputy prime minister, today appeared before the International Criminal Court (ICC), which set 21 September as the date for the start of a hearing on the confirmation of charges preferred against them in connection with the 2008 post-election violence.

The confirmation of charges hearing for Uhuru Kenyatta, the deputy prime minister; Francis Muthaura, the head of the country’s civil service; and Mohammed Hussein Ali, the former commissioner of police and currently head of the post office, will determine whether there is sufficient evidence that each suspect committed each of the crimes they are charged with.

If the charges are confirmed, the ICC pre-trial chamber commits the suspect for trial before a trial chamber.

The other three suspects – William Ruto, Henry Kosgey and Joshua arap Sang – appeared before the ICC pre-trial chamber in The Hague yesterday.

At today’s hearing, during which the court verified the identity of the suspects and ensured they were informed of their alleged crimes and their rights, presiding Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova repeated a warning she gave to the three others yesterday that warrants could be issued against them if they instigated further unrest through inflammatory speech.

“It came to the knowledge of the chamber through following some articles in the Kenyan newspapers that there are movements towards retriggering the violence in Kenya, by way of delivering dangerous speeches,” said Judge Trendafilova.

“I would like to remind the suspects – and note that I am not referring to anyone in particular; this is a general point to be made to all the suspects – such action could be perceived as a breach of one of the conditions clearly set out in the summonses to appear namely, to continue committing crimes within the jurisdiction of this court. Accordingly, this might prompt the chamber to replace the summonses to appear with warrants of arrest,” she said.

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.


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