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Ex-ministers Face World Crimes Court Over Kenya Bloodshed

The International Criminal Court has opened hearings against three of six prominent Kenyans accused of orchestrating deadly post-election violence in their country.

Former education minister William Ruto, former industrialization minister Henry Kosgey and radio executive Joshua arap Sang are facing charges of crimes against humanity.

Thursday's hearing at The Hague was to confirm the charges against the three and determine if there is enough evidence to put the suspects on trial.

During proceedings, Ruto's defense attorney argued that ICC prosecutors have failed to investigate evidence that would exonerate the former education chief.

The six Kenyan suspects are accused of crimes that include murder, rape, torture and forced evictions.

The other suspects -- Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Cabinet secretary Francis Kirimi Muthaura, and former police chief Mohammed Hussein Ali - are scheduled to appear before ICC judges on September 21.

About 1,300 people were killed in riots and ethnic violence triggered by Kenya's disputed 2007 presidential election. More than 300,000 were displaced from their homes.

On Tuesday, the ICC rejected the Kenyan government's argument that the cases against the men should be dropped.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP, Daily Nation and Capital FM.