ICC Opens Hearing Against 3 Prominent Kenyans

Posted September 21st, 2011 at 2:25 pm (UTC-5)
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The International Criminal Court has opened proceedings against three prominent Kenyans accused of organizing deadly post-election violence in their country.

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Cabinet Secretary Francis Muthaura and former police chief Mohammed Hussein Ali are facing charges of crimes against humanity. Judges at The Hague must decide if there is enough evidence to send them to trial.

Prosecutors say Kenyatta and Muthaura indirectly orchestrated violence that swept Kenya after a disputed presidential poll in late 2007.

Top prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the court Wednesday that Kenyatta and Muthaura took part in key meetings to plot revenge attacks against rivals. He says they urged Ali to ensure his police officers did not intervene.

The post-election violence killed about 1,300 people and displaced more than 300,000 others.

All three defendants have denied the charges. The hearing is expected to continue until October 5th.

Kenyatta, the son of Kenya's founding father Jomo Kenyatta, was present for Wednesday's hearing.

The ICC opened similar hearings earlier this month against three other prominent Kenyans. Former education minister William Ruto, former industrialization minister Henry Kosgey and radio executive Joshua Arap Sang are also accused of crimes against humanity stemming from the post-election unrest.

Critics accused incumbent President Mwai Kibaki of stealing the 2007 election from Prime Minister Raila Odinga through fraud. The two leaders later agreed to form Kenya's current power-sharing government.