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ICC tightens Uhuru, Ruto murder charges

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Updated Wed, January 9th 2013 at 00:00 GMT +3
Uhuru and Muthaura

DPM Uhuru Kenyatta and former Head of Civil Service, Francis Muthaura at The ICC during the confirmation of charges, in 2012. [Photo: File/Standard]

By Evelyn Kwamboka

KENYA: The ICC Prosecutor now says she has additional incriminating evidence sufficient to sustain murder charges against Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, Mr William Ruto and two other Kenyan suspects.

The enhanced murder charges were contained in updated documents of charges prepared by Gambia-born Fatou Bensouda on the serious crimes against humanity facing the four Kenyans.

The new document reasserts alleged meetings held at State House, Nairobi, with Uhuru playing the central role in planning the revenge attacks witnessed in Naivasha.

As for Ruto who the prosecutor saddles with the Kiambaa church killings in Eldoret, the Prosecutor introduces a new list of alleged accomplices he was supposed to have worked with in mobilising, coordinating and commanding the killings in the Rift Valley.

Key among the names is that of Industrialisation minister and Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey, who initially the prosecution sought to have indicted alongside the four, before he was let off for lack of evidence that the judges felt would sustain trial.

Also listed as Ruto’s accomplices, though not for purposes of being charged by to show the depth of alleged planning and execution of a ‘common plan’ with military precision, are four senior former security officials from the Rift Valley.

They are two former military generals, John Koech and Augustine Cheruiyot, as well as former GSU and presidential service Commandant Samson Cherambos, who incidentally was one of the witnesses Ruto took to The Hague during pre-trial stage in a bid to clear his own name.

Also mentioned along this line is former international athlete killed in the clashes, Lucas Sang, as well as Mount Elgon MP Fred Kapondi.

Also listed as an accomplice is a renowned businessman and big-time farmer in Eldoret, Mr Jackson Kibor, a former ally of Ruto who was at first charged in a Kenyan court with the violence, but the charges were later dropped.

In her documents Bensouda outlined the kind of weaponry, strategies adopted to corner the targets of violence, the locations of attacks, and the manner in which the victims were executed as well as how the assaults were carried out and communication among perpetrators conveyed, to anchor the enhanced count she wants them charged with. 

The evidence supporting murder charges during the 2007-2008 post-election violence, she made clear; also apply for the counts facing former Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura, who is charged alongside Uhuru, and Kass FM’s head of operations Mr Joshua Arap Sang, who shares his charges with Ruto.

It now means that Uhuru, who is the Jubilee alliance presidential candidate, and Ruto who is his running mate, will have to put up a bigger fight to extricate themselves from the cases that will start shortly after the March 4 elections, and on the day of a runoff if there will be one. 

The additional evidence against Uhuru, who like the other three suspects, has denied he played a role in mobilising arming, coordinating and paying the two sets of attackers, is linked to six specific murders in which guns were used in Naivasha.

Ruto is also alleged to have been behind the murder at Nandi Hills where three people were killed as a result of petrol bombs. The attackers in Nandi Hills also allegedly used bows and arrows during the election violence according to the new evidence.

Bensouda says the additional evidence will convince the Pre-Trial Chamber to confirm the murder charges touching on those two areas.

“The prosecution respectfully informs the Chamber that since the confirmation hearing, the prosecution has obtained additional evidence to substantiate this factual allegation,” she said in her submissions.

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