Prominent Kenyans Appear at ICC Hearing

Posted September 1st, 2011 at 12:20 pm (UTC-5)
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The International Criminal Court has opened hearings against three of six prominent Kenyans accused of orchestrating deadly post-election violence in their country.

Former education minister William Ruto, former industrialization minister Henry Kosgey and radio executive Joshua arap Sang are facing charges of crimes against humanity.

Thursday's hearing at the Hague was to confirm the charges against the three. The court will determine if there is enough evidence to put the suspects on trial.

During the proceedings, Ruto's defense attorney argued ICC prosecutors have failed to investigate evidence that would exonerate the former education chief.

The six Kenyan suspects are accused of crimes that include murder, rape, torture and forced evictions.

The other suspects — Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Cabinet secretary Francis Kirimi Muthaura, and former police chief Mohammed Hussein Ali — are scheduled to appear before ICC judges on September 21.

About 1,300 people were killed in riots and ethnic violence triggered by Kenya's disputed 2007 presidential election. More than 300,000 were displaced from their homes.

On Tuesday, the ICC rejected the Kenyan government's argument that the cases against the men should be dropped.

The court's appeals chamber said the cases were admissible, upholding a previous ruling that said the government had failed to provide evidence that it is investigating or prosecuting the six suspects.

The Kenyan government initially had agreed to cooperate with the ICC probe into the violence, but changed its position earlier this year.

Following the 2007 election, critics accused incumbent President Mwai Kibaki of stealing victory from Prime Minister Raila Odinga through fraud. The two leaders later formed Kenya's current power-sharing government.