Skip to main content

ICC to present charges in Kenyan postelection violence

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • The confirmation hearings for the six suspects will be held this month
  • One of the suspects is the deputy prime minister
  • Violence after the disputed elections in 2007 killed about 1,300 people

(CNN) -- The International Criminal Court will present charges Thursday in the first phase of hearings against prominent Kenyans for their alleged roles in postelection violence that left hundreds dead four years ago.

The court named six Kenyans, including the deputy prime minister, as suspects in the clashes that erupted after disputed elections in December 2007.

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, who also serves as finance minister, is the son of the nation's first leader and considered a presidential contender in the upcoming elections.

About 1,300 people were killed and hundreds of thousands displaced in the clashes.

The standoff between supporters of incumbent president, Mwai Kibaki, and front-runner Raila Odinga, ended with the formation of a coalition government -- with the latter as prime minister.

The International Criminal court has divided the defendants into two groups.

On Thursday, prosecutors will argue whether charges against former Higher Education Minister William Ruto and two others should be confirmed. The other two are former Industrialization Minister Henry Kosgey and radio executive Joshua arap Sang.

The second group of three will undergo a similar process starting September 21. Kenyatta is part of that group as is public service head Francis Muthaura and former Police Chief Mohammed Hussein Ali.

On Tuesday, an appeals court judge at the international court dismissed a Kenyan government bid to stop the investigation.

In its request, the government said its new constitution includes reforms that will allow it to conduct its own prosecutions.

But the appeals judge said Kenya did not prove that investigations against the six suspects are in progress.

Rights groups have urged the court to pursue justice before the next election scheduled for 2012.

CNN's David McKenzie contributed to this report.