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Attorney of Suspended Kenyan Minister: ICC Has No Case Against His Client

  • Peter Clottey

Kenya's suspended higher education minister William Ruto in Nairobi, Kenya (File Photo)

Kenya's suspended higher education minister William Ruto in Nairobi, Kenya (File Photo)

The attorney representing William Ruto, Kenya’s suspended higher education minister, says the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) has no case against his client after the court summoned six suspected Kenyans, including Ruto, to appear before the court April 7.

Katwa Kigen says the defense team is not privy to the evidence the court has against his client, but insists Ruto is being falsely accused of crimes he did not commit.

“In the first instance, we are surprised that the summons was issued because we’ve always maintained that, in the first instance, our client is innocent. And, in the second instance, the allegations that the violence was planned are not true. But, the ruling has not been made so we will follow the due process of the trial,” said Kigen.

“We will appear on the 7th of April and we will and go on with the case and depend on the procedure and what needs to be done. We definitely will turn up at The Hague,” he added.

ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo named the six suspects in December and asked them to appear voluntarily at the Hague-based court.

The six suspects being summoned by the ICC include Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Industrialization Minister Henry Kosgey and suspended Education Minister William Ruto. The others are secretary to the cabinet, Francis Kirimi Muthaura, former police Chief Mohammed Hussein Ali and radio executive Joshua Arap Sang.

Two Kenyan investigative panels have accused Ruto of helping to orchestrate the violence, in which about 1,300 people died.

Kigen says the chief prosecutor has yet to provide evidence of the alleged complicity of Ruto in the violence.

“Quite clearly, neither myself nor my client has seen the document that was [allegedly] presented, nor are we aware of the type of evidence that was presented,” said Kigen.

“The only thing that we will like to hasten to mention is that, whatever it is, our position remains that our client is innocent and that the allegation that our client was party to any planning of violence is false.”

Ruto recently returned to Kenya from The Hague, where he gave the ICC his account of Kenya's 2007 post-election violence. Speaking to reporters in Nairobi shortly after his arrival, Ruto said he met with ICC investigators to, in his words, “set the record straight.” He said the two reports on the violence contain "falsehoods" and that he was never given a chance to give his side of the story.

Kenya exploded in violence after the disputed presidential election of December 2007, in which incumbent President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner over challenger Raila Odinga.

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