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Witnesses against Uhuru, Ruto to be revealed on Wednesday

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

By Felix Olick

KENYA: The International Criminal Court (ICC) will Wednesday lay bare the evidence it has against four Kenyans facing crimes against humanity charges at The Hague, even as two of the suspects scale up their presidential campaigns.

The prosecution is expected to disclose to the defence incriminatory material in the form of witness statements and evidence it intends to rely on during the trials that kicks off a month after an expected titanic presidential duel.

Also to be disclosed on Wednesday are the identities of witnesses that ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda would line up against the suspects when the trials start on April 10 and 11.

Expected in Bensouda’s evidence are facts on the alleged State House meeting where Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, former Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura, and President Kibaki are said to have met members of the outlawed Mungiki sect.

During the pre-trial stage, Bensouda’s predecessor Luis Moreno-Ocampo convinced the judges that the alleged meeting convened to plan retaliatory attacks against perceived ODM supporters in Naivasha and Nakuru indeed took place.

Government machinery

Ocampo claimed that during the violence that preceded the bungled 2007 presidential polls, Uhuru controlled finances and the Mungiki, while Muthaura controlled Government machinery and security organs. 

Former Police Commissioner Hussein Ali, who was acquitted by the court, is said to have acted as an assistant to the structure used by Uhuru and Muthaura to ensure PNU held on to power by attacking ODM supporters.

In their decision on the schedule leading up to the trial in July last year, the three Judge bench set on Wednesday for disclosure of the critical information.

According to the schedule, the prosecution will on Wednesday file a pre-trial brief; a document explaining with case reference the evidence the prosecution intends to rely on at trial.

The pre-trial brief must contain for each count a summary of the relevant evidence of each witness and clearly explain how the evidence relates to the charges.

As a result, the prosecution will also labour to justify their case against Eldoret North MP William Ruto and Radio Journalist Joshua arap Sang.

They are expected to justify their claims that attacks against PNU supporters in the North Rift, especially in Eldoret town, were planned as far back as 2006 and that Ruto and Sang were at the centre of the plot.

The prosecutor claimed that Mr Sang used his radio programme to collect supporters and provide signals to members of the plan on when and where to attack.

More than 1,200 people were killed and some 350,000 displaced after the botched 2007 General Election that nearly brought the country to its knees. Bensouda, who visited Kiambaa Church in Eldoret on November 26, last year believes that the burning alive of mostly Kikuyu women and children was deliberate.

However, there has been conflicting information, especially concerning the exact number of people who were in the church and those who died in the January 1, 2008 incident.

The crimes against humanity charges are facing leading lights in the Jubilee Coalition – Uhuru and Ruto who will this Saturday pitch tent at the historic Uhuru Park to drum up support for their bids.

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