Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta and head of civil service Francis Muthaurahave stepped aside just days after the international criminal court pre-trial judges confirmed crimes against humanity charges on them and two other Kenyan suspects. They will be replaced by Robinson Githae and Francis Kimemia, respectively, in acting capacity.
The others whose cases were confirmed include former high education minister William Ruto and journalist Joshua arap Sang, while those whose cases were not confirmed are Tindiret MP Henry Kosgey and post master general Hussein Ali. ICC Prosecutor Moreno – Ocampo accused Mr Ruto and Mr Kosgey of planning attacks against PNU supporters as far back as December 2006.
The prosecutor claimed that Mr Sang used his radio programme to collect supporters and provide signals to members of the plan on when and where to attack. Mr Moreno-Ocampo, in his application to the court, claimed that in response to the attacks, three “prominent PNU members and/or Government of Kenya officials Francis Kirimi Muthaura, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and Mohammed Hussein Ali developed and executed a plan to attack perceived ODM supporters in order to keep the PNU in power.”
There has been pressure from the OM wing of government for the two to step aside as per the provisions of the constitution untill they are cleared by the court. Mr Uhuru however retained the position of prime minister.
Judges at the International Criminal Court said there was no strong evidence against Kosgey, but the prosecutor may present additional evidence against them seeking confirmation of charges. The charges were not confirmed after ICC judges found evidence did not meet threshold Hussein Ali’s charges were not confirmed due to insufficient evidence.
The six Kenyan suspects claimed to have played the biggest role in the 2007 2008 post-election violence that took the country to the brink of civil war. The Pre-trial Judges unanimously confirmed charges against Uhuru Kenyatta, who is also deputy prime minister, William Ruto, Eldoret MP William Ruto, Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura and journalist Joshua arap Sang.
Judges Ekaterina Trendafilova and Cuno Tarfusser voted to the affirmative while Judge Hans-Peter Kaul dissented. “The Chamber by majority decided to confirm charges against four of the six suspects. Judge Hans-Peter Kaul gave a dissenting opinion with the view that the crimes were common crimes that could be handled by the Kenyan law,” Judge Trendafilova said while delivering the judgement. “The Prosecutor established substantial grounds to believe crimes against humanity were committed.
The Chamber also found that these crimes were committed were targeted to specific groups,” she added. William Ruto, Henry Kosgey and journalist Joshua arap Sang each faced charges of murder, deportation or forcible transfer of the people, causing serious injury and persecution based on political affiliation.