Pressure builds on Kenyan accused

Residents of the Mathare slum in Nairobi shout at demonstrators during clashes between two rival groups January 1, 2008. The post election violence is blamed for some 1,200 deaths in early 2008. Now top Kenyan politicians are facing charged from the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Tony Karumba

Kenya’s bid to save six men accused of crimes against humanity from being tried at the International Criminal Court in The Hague has been thrown out by judges who will begin the case on Thursday.

Judges disagreed with Kenya’s plea that it had begun investigations itself and was capable of bringing perpetrators to justice.

ICC judges will now hold the first of two “confirmation of charges” hearings this week as they deliberate over whether ex-ministers William Ruto and Henry Kosgey and radio presenter Joshua Arap Sang should face trial.

The three men are accused by prosecutors of masterminding some of the tribal and political violence that broke out after disputed polls in late 2007, eventually killing more than 1,200 people and forcing hundreds of thousands from their homes.

The other three accused – deputy prime minister Uhuru Kenyatta, top civil servant Francis Muthaura and former head of police Hussein Ali – will face confirmation of charges hearing later in the month.

The hearings are the final step before a full trial can begin. Both Kenyatta and Ruto hold presidential ambitions and with elections due again in 2012 a trial in The Hague will have a huge impact on politics here in Kenya.