Ruto group in prayers ahead of ICC hearing

Bishop Kiogora Magambo of Jesus House of Praise prays for Eldoret North MP William Ruto in Meru town on August 28, 2011. Mr Ruto leaves for the confirmation hearings at The Hague, Netherlands, on August 31, 2011.

What you need to know:

  • Moment of truth coming for three of the ‘Ocampo Six’ who must convince international court that there is no evidence to commit them to trial

Pray for us. That was the parting shot of former Industrialisation minister Henry Kosgey, Eldoret North MP William Ruto and radio presenter Joshua Sang as they prepared to leave for The Hague.

Mr Sang left on Sunday night, Mr Kosgey leaves on Monday night and Mr Ruto on Tuesday for the confirmation hearings starting on Thursday.

They are among the six Kenyans accused of bearing the greatest responsibility for the post-election violence that left 1,133 people dead and displaced over 650,000 others. (READ: Kenya's big day as Ocampo set to name six suspects in chaos case)

The other suspects are Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura, Deputy Prime Minister and Treasury boss Uhuru Kenyatta and Postmaster-General Hussein Ali, whose hearing starts on September 21.

“I have had a praying session with elders from Tinderet today and I urge you to continue praying for us,” Mr Kosgey told mourners at Lelgotet village in Tinderet, Nandi County, on Sunday.

Belgut MP Charles Keter asked the Kalenjin to pray for the trio, claiming they were paying the price of supporting ODM in the 2007 General Election.

“This problem has been caused by our support for ODM and if we had known we would not have supported the party,” he said.

Speaking in Cheborgei at the burial of seven relatives who died in a road accident last week, Mr Ruto blamed their woes on power rows in ODM.

He called for prayers for ODM leaders “not to write other letters to the International Criminal Court (ICC) claiming no local court could prosecute me”. 

At the same time, lawyers of Mr Ruto and Mr Sang have opposed Saturday hearings scheduled by presiding judge Ekaterina Trendafilova.

The lawyers said this “far exceeds the bounds of what is reasonable” and questioned the “excessive speed” at which the judge feels the case must be conducted.

They argued that the gruelling schedule would deny them time to consult with their clients and attend to personal commitments such as child care and travel.

“The single judge recalls the limited purpose of the hearing and reminds all parties and participants to avoid repetitive arguments and to confine themselves to what is strictly necessary in order that the Chamber, which has carefully read all the material available, discharge its functions,” Justice Trendafilova said on Friday.

She also ordered the parties to use witness codes or pseudonyms to protect their identity. Only the prosecutor and his team, the defence, the common legal representative of victims, the registrar and members of the Division of Court Services will be in court.

The judge has also limited defence witnesses to two and cautioned lawyers against turning the hearings into a mini-trial.

At the same time, the government will tomorrow afternoon know the fate of its appeal challenging the admissibility of the cases.

In the appeal filed on May 30, Kenya argues that it is willing and capable of prosecuting the cases at home.

“The Appeals Chamber shall convene on Tuesday, August 30, 2011, for the purpose of delivering, in open court, judgment in the above appeal,” said a statement on the ICC website.

This comes as victims of the violence push for additional charges against the suspects. Through their ICC-appointed lawyer, Ms Sureta Chana, they want the suspects charged with acts of destruction and burning of property, infliction of injuries and looting.

Reported by Emeka-Mayaka Gekara, Benedict Tirop, Ouma Wanzala and Tom Matoke


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