Six Kenyan leaders face charges over violent election campaign

SIX Kenyan leaders were yesterday accused of being behind organised violence following the country’s 2007 election that left more than 1,000 people dead.

The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo wants them to be charged with crimes against humanity including murder, rape and torture.

The violence began over who would take the presidency and then took on ethnic overtones. But it is the case against former higher education minister William Ruto that could cause the most violent backlash in Kenya.

Kenya’s police commissioner Mathew K Iteere warned that “criminal elements” were looking to use Moreno Ocampo’s announcement as an opportunity to break the law and vowed to crack down on any violence. Moreno Ocampo said Ruto began plotting attacks on supporters of President Mwai Kibaki a year before the election and worked with Minister for Industrialisation Henry Kosgey and radio broadcaster Joshua Sang to co-ordinate a campaign of killing and forced deportations in the Rift Valley.

In a separate case, Moreno Ocampo charged Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta — son of Kenyan independence hero and founding president Jomo Kenyatta — alongside Cabinet secretary Francis Muthaura and former police commissioner Maj Gen Mohammed Hussein Ali with murder, deportation, persecution, rape and inhumane acts allegedly committed in retaliation against supporters of Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Judges will study the prosecutor’s evidence and make their decision early next year.

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