In broad terms it can be said that the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor has laid out allegations in the first Kenya case that put former Higher Education Minister William Samoei Ruto at the head of a network of perpetrators that planned, financed, organized, and carried out attacks in the North Rift region of Kenya. Former Industrialization Minister Henry Kiprono Kosgey, the second suspect in the case, is alleged by the prosecutor to have acted as Ruto’s deputy. The third suspect, Joshua arap Sang, is alleged to have used his position as the star presenter of Kass FM to help mobilize and psych up attackers as well as coordinate them.
The Waki Commission report and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights report are in agreement that the attacks in North Rift were planned, organized, and funded by several individuals. The KNHCR lists Ruto, Kosgey, and Sang as allegedly being among those individuals. The Waki Commission report does not name any of them, though their names may be in the commission’s secret envelope that eventually reached the ICC prosecutor’s office.
None of the commissions, however, describe the attacks in the North Rift as the work of a network. They do refer to commanders, some of the organizations used to raise funds, and other elements that the ICC prosecutor has put together to describe the network. The KNCHR report names a former deputy head of Kenya’s military, retired general John Koech, as an alleged commander of some of the attacks. Koech and two other individuals – former head of presidential security, Samson Cheramboss, and former army commander, retired general Augustine Cheruiyot, were named during the confirmation of charges hearings in early September this year as the alleged commanders of the three zones of attacks in North Rift.
The ICC prosecutor’s case against Ruto, Kosgey, and Sang revolves around the testimony of about eight or so anonymous witnesses, according to the defense lawyers who challenged his evidence during the confirmation of charges hearings. The Waki Commission, in addition to the testimony of witnesses, also quoted extensively from the reports of the National Security Intelligence Service to show that the attacks were planned and organized as opposed to being just spontaneous responses to the disputed results of the presidential elections in December 2007. The KNCHR’s report is largely dependent on witnesses describing specific attacks as well as some of the planning and organization of those attacks.
Another key divergence between those reports and the prosecutor’s case is the areas of attacks. For his case the prosecutor is focused on four areas of attack – the greater Eldoret area, Turbo, Kapsabet, and Nandi Hills towns. The KNCHR describes attacks in Burnt Forest, Eldoret Town, Kapsabet Town, areas along the border of Uasin Gishu and Trans Nzoia districts as well as in Trans Nzoia District itself. The Waki Commission describes attacks in Eldoret Town, Burnt Forest, Kapsabet Town, and in other parts of Nandi North District.
The prosecutor does not at all focus on the police and its role in the violence in the North Rift region. This is a major concern in the reports of the Waki Commission and the KNCHR. They both highlight allegations that many policemen and women in the area followed their own ethnic loyalties when it came to responding to calls for help from victims of the violence. The reports also point out that some policemen and women participated in the violence by shooting non-Kalenjins.
The next article compares the prosecutor’s second case with the two reports.