International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

ICC confirms charges against four out of six Kenyan suspects

A pre-trial chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has said that four prominent Kenyan suspects should be charged with crimes against humanity and face trial, supporting charges against two potential presidential candidates, the country’s top civil servant, and a radio journalist over their alleged role in post-election violence in 2007 and 2008. The court’s Pre-Trial Chamber II announced a summary of its decision in an empty courtroom to enable live streaming of its ruling to satisfy the public thirst for information on the Kenya cases. The Kenyan media over the past week has written numerous speculative pieces on when a decision would likely be issued and how it would impact the country’s politics.

All television channels broadcast Presiding Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova reading the summary in the courtroom in The Hague, flanked by her fellow judges. The channels had human rights activists and lawyers in studio hours ahead of the decision to analyse both pre-ruling and post-ruling scenarios. Some television stations also had their star journalists reporting live, interviewing residents of towns such as Eldoret, which was one of the epicentres of the violence that shook Kenya after the December 2007 presidential poll.

Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki said after the decision was issued that he has directed Attorney General Githu Muigai to form a legal team to study the ruling and advice the government on the next steps to take.

Pre-Trial Chamber II said the ICC prosecutor presented substantial grounds to convince two out of three of the judges to confirm the charges against Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta; Head of Public Service Francis Kirimi Muthaura; former Cabinet Minister William Samoei Ruto; and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang.

Presiding Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova said the judges were not convinced the prosecutor had reached the threshold for charges to be confirmed against former Cabinet Minister Henry Kiprono Kosgey and former police chief Mohammed Hussein Ali. Judge Trendafilova said Kosgey and Ali are free, but the prosecutor can choose to present additional evidence against them in order to persuade the court to confirm charges against them.

Judge Trendafilova also stated that the four accused are still at liberty, but the restrictions that the court imposed on them during the pre-trial process continue to apply.

“It is our utmost desire that the decision issued by this chamber today bring peace to the Republic of Kenya,” Trendafilova said.

In his address to Kenyans, President Kibaki said that through the provisions of Kenya’s new constitution, the country’s judiciary is undergoing radical transformation, the police are facing fundamental reform, and the country has an independent prosecutor.

“It is now the collective responsibility of all those institutions to ensure justice for all, at all times. In the meantime I appeal to everyone to remain calm and peaceful,” Kibaki continued.

He did not say anything about earlier calls on Kenyatta and Muthaura to resign from their public offices if the charges are confirmed against them. In December 2010, Kibaki said such calls were premature because the charges against them had not been confirmed. This was on the day ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo first announced that he was seeking summons for the two.

“Finally, fellow Kenyans, it is my personal commitment to bequeath present and future generations a secure, united, prosperous, and peaceful country,” Kibaki said. The full statement is available here.

Earlier, Ruto and Sang jointly denounced the Pre-Trial Chamber II’s decision at a news conference attended by supporters of the United Republic Party, the vehicle that Ruto is likely to use to run for president. Among the supporters were Cabinet Ministers Chirau Ali Mwakwere and Samuel Poghishio.

“Let me state, and categorically so, that these allegations against me have been, are and will forever be strange to me,” Ruto said. He said his legal team will be analyzing the judges’ decision before determining the next steps they will take.

“I am persuaded and I am clear in my mind that it doesn’t matter how long it takes, the truth will prevail…the devil will be put to shame,” Ruto said. He affirmed that he still plans to run for president.

“I take this confirmation as a test of my faith and I trust God,” said Sang.

Trendafilova said that the pre-trial judges have, since the Kenya cases were initiated by Moreno-Ocampo in November 2009, reviewed about 30,000 pages of evidence, handled 4,905 filings, and made 252 decisions before finally determining whether to confirm the charges.

At the trial stage, Ruto and Sang will be facing three counts of crimes against humanity. Separately, Kenyatta and Muthaura will face five counts of crimes against humanity.

Under ICC rules, the four Kenyan accused can challenge the judges’ decision on the court’s jurisdiction over the cases. They can also apply to the pre-trial chamber to allow them to appeal the confirmation decision.

 

13 Comments
  1. It’s through the charges have been confirmed by the pre-trial chamber but on the ground of sumptious paper work that’s was easy to be doctored,had the prosecutor deployed a team of court-based lawyers to investigate on the post-poll violence not only in the IDP camps but in other indegenous settings and also not to rely HEAVILY on the Human Rights Commission and other civil societies then the veracity could have pretty much prevailed.MAY GOD GRANT LIBERTY TO THOSE INVOLVED INNOCENTLY.

    • Please read the written decisions carefully. What you will find, especially in the Kenyatta et al case, are, among other things: (a) Serious stuff from the NSIS; (b) Defence lawyers and witnesses unwittingly burying their own clients. N

  2. Lets hope that the existing IDPs will find justice at the Hague,we trust that the work that they(ICC)has done is sufficient enough to tame these two main rouges in the name of Uhuru and Ruto.

    • The extent to which the IDPs matter to anyone powerful in Kenya is shown by the fact that *today* (going into year 5) Presedent Kibaki urged their immediate resettlement. Perhaps the start of the trial will get them resettled finally! Then they can think of justice, when they are not suffering in squalid camps.

      • The Kenyan Founding Father, late Jomo Kenyatta at one time implored upon kenyans to forget the past and rebuilt the Nation. The ruling should not divide us but should unite us more as we seek to bring healing and reconciliation to all our people. The Bible records in second chronocles chapters number seven and verses fourteen that ‘ If my people that are called by my Name shall humble themselves and pray and turn away from their sins, i will hear them and will heal their land’. Fellow brothers and sisters, let us all call on the Lord in Heaven for a solution as blame game will not take us anywhere. I call on those to be used as witnesses against the four, their families, the suspects and the church to allow for the National prayer and repentance session. let judgement be made by God, i plead to all of you, all have sinned, run short of God’s glory, Haque is not a solution.

  3. Not the best, but not a bad approach. We must acknowledge Kenyans died for nothing. This may eventually set a good lesson for African [dirty] politicians; and give hope the poor and very often helples civil African. O how I now envy Kenyans. They may emerge winners=best on continent. Anyway wish u well!

  4. Whatever the direction the case takes after the confirmation the message has been received by the politicians loud and clear never again shall we have a blood bath initiated by politicians.Kenyans especially the youth should be wary of “our people”syndrome those whose cases have been confirmed are solely responsible for their actions…may justice be done to all those IDPs living in poor conditions.

  5. ICC or No ICC Kenyans were killed for selfish political reasons and as far as I can remember it started back from 1992 up to 2007 where I have survived all the tribal clashes in RiftValley. Can all the affected victims be paid as it is the requirement of Kenyan Goverment to protect and gurantee security of its citizens.Why did someone yesterday issued directive that IDP’s should be settled immediately and they have been surving in camps for over 5 years while the political class have been sleeping in comfortable beds in posh areas???? Shame on us!!!

    • “Urgent” calls for the “immediate resettlement” of the IDPs come at very predictable intervals: when persmission was giev to OTP to open the case, when summon were issued, when admissibility challenge failed, and now when charges have been confirmed. They IDPs will now be forgotten until the suspects appeals fail and a trial date is set. At that time, expect an “urgent” call for their “immediate resettlement”. As things will be very hot by then, expect also the formation of a “high-level committtee or panel” to “look urgently into the modalites” of their immediate resettlement.

  6. Going by the confirmation of charges for the 4,i strongly believe kenyans need justice,let leave the matter to the next stage and back here we concentrate on the building of the Nation.

  7. These guys are among or are closely connected to the owners of Kenya. Those owners are going to put up a very fierce fight, so these boys may never actually attend any trials at the Hague, especially now that Kibaki has been directly implicated in the mess. The Attorney General understands very well the job that the Owners of Kenya hired him to do, and he has fired the first shot for Impunity Unlimited. As one would say, mta do?

    The way the Owners of Kenya and Masters of Impunity do things is like anally raping Kenyans, time and time again. What the rest of the world finds incredible is Kenyans’ willingness to take the same, again and again. The swamp that is Kenya’s political and power structure can only be cleaned up through a real revolution, of the sort we have seen from the Arabs and from the East Europeans before them. However, the sub-Saharan African always seems to have an infinite capacity “take it, however it’s given”, so there will be no revolution. Impasse.

  8. Like the historical sword of Muhammad and his followes (they did not use sabres at the time), the Arabellion is double-edged, as we now begin to see. Nevertheless, the only change that is possible and desirable in Kenya, is *not* “evolutionary”. But the opposite.

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