Ruto quizzed in Kenya plan to stop Hague trials
Posted Monday, August 8 2011 at 22:00
- This is part of the campaign by the government to convince the Hague that it can try ‘Ocampo Six’ locally
Detectives on Monday questioned the third member of the Ocampo Six as the government goes all out to show the Hague that it is serious about prosecuting election violence cases.
Mr William Ruto, former Higher Education minister, was questioned for three hours by officers from the Criminal Investigations Department over his alleged role in the chaos after the disputed 2007 elections.
Others who have been questioned are suspended Industrialisation minister Henry Kosgey and radio presenter Joshua Sang.
Detectives said they were also interested in taking statements from Head Civil Service Francis Muthaura, Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former police boss Hussein Ali.
But Mr Muthaura’s lawyers said they were focused on clearing his name at the International Criminal Court and that the local proceedings are “a distraction”.
The government is appealing a decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber to strike out its case, arguing that the cases facing the six suspects be tried at home. The court ruled that Kenya had shown no evidence that it was willing and able to try the suspects.
CID director Ndegwa Muhoro said the interrogations are part of investigations aimed at prosecuting suspected perpetrators of post-election violence.
“We had summoned him (Ruto) so that we could talk to him about those issues. We are making efforts to speak to the others. We are looking forward to that opportunity. He (Ruto) is the third person we’ve talked to,” he said.
Among the crimes being investigated are murder, rape and arson.
A team of senior CID officers formed in November last year has been reviewing criminal cases reported during the violence.
According to police, up to 6,000 people could be taken to court for the crimes if a special court to try them is established in Kenya.
Said Mr Muhoro: “We started by collecting as much data as possible. Beside the six, there are many others we would rely on before moving to court.”
The team at the headquarters has been involved in reconstructing files that were originally opened at various police stations, effectively taking over all the cases.
The post-election violence was the result of disputed presidential election results in which President Kibaki was declared the winner. More than 1,133 died during the violence, 650,000 others displaced and property worth millions of shillings destroyed.
Formed a coalition
The violence ended after former UN secretary general Kofi Annan mediated the opposing PNU and ODM sides and President Kibaki and Mr Raila Odinga formed a coalition government with the latter as Prime Minister.
The interrogation by the CID is part of the government’s efforts to convince the ICC that it was capable of trying the Ocampo Six if they are found to have been behind the violence.
This happened as the ICC Appeals Chamber asked Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo and the suspects to, by Thursday, make submissions on a request by Kenya to be allowed to make oral presentations on its case arguing that the suspects should not be tried at the Hague.