THE HAGUE/NAIROBI, (Reuters) – The International Criminal Court prosecutor named three Kenyan cabinet ministers and a former police chief yesterday among six suspects behind the east African country’s post-election violence in 2008.
The widely awaited announcement has the potential to destabilise Kenya’s fragile coalition, or unity government, which was formed by President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to end the bloodshed and restore stability.
Prominent among the six suspects were finance minister and deputy prime minister Uhuru Kenyatta, son of Kenya’s founding father Jomo Kenyatta, and William Ruto, the higher education minister who has been suspended to fight a corruption case.
More than 1,220 people died and 350,000 were displaced in the mayhem that followed the December 2007 election, severely damaging Kenya’s reputation for stability in a turbulent region.
Moreno-Ocampo said he was pursuing Kenyatta, Ruto, industrialisation minister Henry Kosgey and former police chief Mohammed Hussein Ali, radio executive Joshua arap Sang, and cabinet secretary Francis Muthaura.
Charges include murder, forcible transfer of population, political persecution, torture and rape.
The suspects said yesterday they would go voluntarily to The Hague as they were confident they could clear their names.
Kibaki said he would take no action yet against the suspects because the ICC case was nowhere near completed.
“They therefore cannot be judged as guilty until the charges are confirmed by the court.
Calls for action to be taken against them are therefore prejudicial, pre-emptive and against the rules of natural justice,” Kibaki said in a statement.