News / Africa

Kenya’s Deputy President Pleads Not Guilty

Kenya’s Deputy President Pleads Not Guilty to Crimes Against Humanityi
September 10, 2013 10:04 PM
Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto has pleaded not guilty to charges of crimes against humanity at the opening day of his trial Tuesday at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, the trial is seen as a landmark case for both Kenya and the ICC
Henry Ridgwell
Kenya’s deputy president William Ruto has pleaded not guilty to charges of crimes against humanity at the opening day of his trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.  The trial is seen as a landmark case for both Kenya and the ICC.

At the opening of the trial Tuesday, the International Criminal Court’s presiding judge, Chile Eboe-Osuji, read out the charges against the defendant.

"William Samoei Ruto, you have been charged, in count one, with murder constituting a crime against humanity under article 7 1a, and article 25 3a of the Rome statute.  How do you plead, guilty or not guilty?”

Ruto pleaded not guilty.

ICC Cases Related to Violence After Kenya's 2007 Elections

William Ruto

  • Deputy president of Kenya
  • Trial opened Sept. 10, 2013
  • Accused of being criminally responsible as an indirect co-perpetrator to 3 crimes against humanity:
    - Murder
    - Deportation or forcible transfer of population
    - Persecution

Joshua Arap Sang

  • Radio executive at Kass FM
  • Trial opened Sept. 10, 2013
  • Accused of having otherwise contributed to the commission of 3 crimes against humanity:
    - Murder
    - Deportation or forcible transfer of population
    - Persecution

Uhuru Kenyatta

  • President of Kenya
  • Trial opens Nov. 12, 2013
  • Accused of being criminally responsible as an indirect co-perpetrator to 5 crimes against humanity:
    - Murder
    - Deportation or forcible transfer of population
    - Rape
    - Persecution
    - Other inhumane acts

Source: ICC
The allegations relate to the violence that erupted after Kenya's 2007 elections, in which more than a thousand people were killed.

Kenyan broadcaster Joshua Arap Sang also pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and persecution.

ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda then gave her opening remarks.

"The prosecution asserts that the two accused, Mr. William Ruto and Mr. Joshua Arap Sang, are among most responsible for the crimes of murder, of persecution and deportation that occurred in the Rift Valley.  It is difficult to imagine the suffering or the terror of the men and the women and children who were burned alive, hacked to death or chased from their homes by armed youths," said the prosecutor.

Defense lawyer Karim Khan expressed confidence that the prosecution’s case would fall apart.

"Unfortunately, it can only be described as a whole-scale duping of an office that has been put in place to protect the rights of victims," said the lawyer.

Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, is also charged with crimes against humanity and will face trial in The Hague in November.

Ruto is the first serving official to appear at the International Criminal Court.  He and Kenyatta were opponents in 2007 - but formed a coalition to win elections this year.

Bringing the defendants to trial was an achievement for the ICC, said analyst Mark Kersten of the London School of Economics.

“I think it is quite a landmark given the fact that a lot of people thought that this day may actually never happen," he said. "But I think very quickly people will say, ‘So now what?  Will Ruto continue cooperating?  Will we see the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, come to the ICC as well?’”

Last week Kenya’s parliament passed a motion to withdraw from the ICC.  But it’s unlikely the defendants will stop cooperating, said Kersten.

“If they stop cooperating with the ICC it’s very certain, it is certain that the ICC would turn around and say ‘now your summons is being replaced with an arrest warrant’.  And what we would see then I think is that these two individuals, Ruto and Kenyatta, would have a lot harder time having normal diplomatic relationships with the rest of the world,” he said.

Former United Nations chief Kofi Annan - who brokered a 2008 power-sharing deal in Kenya - has refuted claims that the prosecutions are a breach of the country’s sovereignty.  He said the trials are essential to combat the use of violence by Kenya's political elite.

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs