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Crimes against humanity charges brought against Kenyan presidential candidates

The men have been ordered to stand trial over post-election violence in 2007 and 2008.

People follow ICC proceedings in Nairobi yesterday as pre-trial judges order four Kenyans to stand trial.
People follow ICC proceedings in Nairobi yesterday as pre-trial judges order four Kenyans to stand trial.
Image: AP Photo/Khalil Senosi/PA Images

TWO PRESIDENTIAL candidates are among the four prominent Kenyans being brought before the International Criminal Court for allegedly committing crimes against humanity.

Deputy PM and finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former education minister William Ruto are planning to contest the presidency later this year, and were yesterday ordered to stand trial for allegedly orchestrating violence after the 2007 election.

Over 1,000 people were killed in the post-election violence between supporters of incumbent Mwai Kibaki and rival Raila Odinga, who later formed a power-sharing government as president and prime minister respectively.

Of the four men ordered by the ICC to stand trial, two supported Kibaki and two supported Odinga.

Two other suspects, minister of industrialisation Henry Kiprono Kosgey and former police commissioner Mohammed Hussein Ali, were cleared of the charges.

In a statement posted to his Facebook page, Kenyatta denied the ICC accusations and thanked his supporters, saying:

I would like to reiterate before the people of Kenya and before the entire world, that my conscience is clear, has been clear and will always remain clear that I am innocent of all the accusations that have been leveled [sic] against me. I have cooperated with the ICC throughout the process and will continue to do so because I believe in the rule of law.

Human Rights Watch welcomed the ICC’s announcement yesterday, saying that the decision “opens the door to justice” for victims of the post-election violence in 2007 and 2008.

The organisation also called on Kenyan authorities to “take all reasonable steps to ensure that the decision does not lead to violence, and to stop violence if it does break out, given that people thought to have been cooperating with the ICC investigations have been threatened”.

The US State Department also urged “the Kenyan government, the people of Kenya, and the individuals involved to continue to cooperate fully with the ICC proceedings and to remain focused on Kenya’s future, especially through the implementation of the reform agenda.”

- Additional reporting by the AP

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