Kenya

ICC: First Court Date for Kenya Suspects

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Six Summoned to Appear in The Hague for 2007-08 Post-Election Violence

(The Hague, April 6, 2011) – Six Kenyans summoned by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the post-election violence in Kenya in 2007-2008 are due to make their first appearances in The Hague on April 7 and 8, 2011.

An ICC pretrial chamber issued the summonses on March 8, following its prosecutor's request in December 2010. During the proceedings on April 7 and 8, an ICC pretrial chamber will ensure that the six are informed of the crimes they are alleged to have committed and their rights under the Rome Statute, the ICC's founding treaty.

Those named included leading political and government officials alleged to have been involved on both sides of the violence.

In one case, William Samoei Ruto, Henry Kiprono Kosgey, and Joshua arap Sang will appear before the court on April 7, 2011 at 9:30 a.m. Central European Summer Time (CEST). Ruto and Kosgey are senior members of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), which was in opposition at the time of the elections. They are members of parliament, and, until recently, cabinet ministers. Sang was a radio host on the Eldoret-based Kass F.M. at the time of the post-election violence. In the other case, Francis Kirimi Muthaura, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, and Mohammed Hussein Ali will appear before the court on April 8, 2011 at 2:30 p.m. CEST. Muthaura is the head of the public service and secretary to the cabinet. Kenyatta is the deputy prime minister and finance minister. Ali was the Kenyan police commissioner at the time of the violence.

"The appearance of the six in The Hague is an important test of their cooperation with the ICC, and we expect them to have every opportunity to make a vigorous defense," said Elizabeth Evenson, senior international justice counsel at Human Rights Watch.

The Kenyan government on March 31, 2011 filed an application challenging the admissibility of the two cases before the ICC, citing its intent to investigate and prosecute the cases in Kenya. The ICC is a court of last resort, stepping in only where national authorities are unable or unwilling. It was on the basis of Kenya's failure to conduct credible investigations into the violence that the ICC judges authorized the ICC prosecutor in March 2010 to investigate. Some Kenyan government officials have also recently sought a deferral of the cases by the United Nations Security Council. To read a Questions and Answers document for further information on the summons to appear, please visit:

http://www.hrw.org/node/97828

To read the Human Rights Watch report, "Ballots to Bullets: Organized Political Violence and Kenya's Crisis of Governance," please visit: http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2008/03/16/ballots-bullets-0

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Kenya, please visit: http://www.hrw.org/en/africa/kenya

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on the ICC, please visit: http://www.hrw.org/en/category/topic/international-justice/international...

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