By BEAUTTAH OMANGA
The conviction of a man to life imprisonment over post-election violence has opened debate on whether The Hague cases should have been dealt with under the local judicial system.
In a 14-page ruling, Lady Justice Rosaline Wendoh said she was convinced beyond reasonable doubt that Peter Kipkemboi Rutto alias Saitoti was part of a group that attacked and murdered Kamau Kimani Thiong’o due to differences in Kimura area.
According to the court proceedings, the incident was triggered by the disputed 2007 presidential election results. The judge ruled that the killing of Thiong’o was well planned and executed.
“It does not matter whether the accused actually injured the deceased. He was in the group that attacked the deceased with the intention of doing grievous harm to him and that they did fatally injure him. The raiders set out to execute a common purpose,” said the judge.
She went on, “ ... he may have caused the cut on the deceased’s forehead but even if he did not cut the deceased, he was part of a group that set out to execute an unlawful purpose, which was attacking another community with the other raiders, a death occurred which was properly (a) consequence of the execution of that purpose for which the raiders set out.”
She concluded that “... the accused was an accomplice to the murder of the deceased”.
Justice Wendoh in her judgement said witnesses who adduced evidence in the case told the court how a group of people assembled near a forest, while armed and set out in two groups and surrounded them.
The witnesses, the judge recalled, stated that houses and property were destroyed and that the whole attack was “premeditated and properly executed”.
Rutto was charged with the offence of murder contrary to section 203 as read with section 204 of the Penal Code.
He was accused that on January 1, 2008, at Kamura area, Timboroa, in Koibatek District, Rift Valley Province, with others not before the court murdered Thiong’o.