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The International Criminal Court has confirmed charges against four Kenyans for their role in 2007 post-election violence. Presidential candidates Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto will both stand trial.
The International Criminal Court has confirmed charges against four Kenyans for their role in post-election violence in 2007 and 2008.
A pre-trial hearing this morning ruled that Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, MP and former Education Minister William Ruto, Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura and radio presenter Joshua Arap Sang should all stand trial, reported Kenyan newspaper The Nation.
However, the ICC decided to drop charges against another two suspects, MP Henry Kosgey and former police commissioner Hussein Ali.
Kenya's president urged the country to remain calm after the news that the four men would stand trial.
"I appeal to everyone to remain calm and peaceful. Our great nation has had its share of challenging times," Mwai Kibaki said in a statement, Agence France-Presse reported.
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Ruto and Sang stand accused of crimes against humanity, murder, deportation, forcible transfer and persecution leading to hundreds of civilian deaths. Kenyatta and Muthaura are charged as indirect co-perpetrators in crimes against humanity.
All four allegedly helped organize attacks on groups they perceived as supporting other candidates than theirs in the 2007 presidential election. More than 1,200 people were killed and 600,000 displaced in weeks of conflict, according to the BBC.
The suspects will be tried in two separate cases, one for Ruto and Sang and another for Kenyatta and Muthaura, according to the side they were on. The first pair backed presidential challenger Raila Odinga, while the second two supported the incumbent Kibaki.
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GlobalPost's correspondent in Kenya, Tristan McConnell, reported that Kenyans have been glued to every step in the ICC's proceedings, which could prove "a turning point in Kenya's modern history:"
Kenya has a long and ignoble history of impunity for politicians and elites: never before have Kenya's senior political leaders or the wealthy and well-connected been held to account, nor have they appeared before judges considered above the bribery that commonly hobbles Kenyan trials.
Both Kenyatta, who is the son of Kenya's founding father, Jomo Kenyatta, and Ruto plan to stand in next year's presidential election.
Ruto held a press conference immediately after today's ruling maintaining his innocence and confirming his intention to run, the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation reported.
Ruto called the ICC decision "strange" and said it would not affect his run for president.
Kenya's electoral commission has to decide whether they are still eligible to stand after today's indictment, The Nation said.
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