The trial against William Samoei Ruto, and his co accused Joshua Arap Sang starts on 10 September before the International Criminal Court (ICC). This is the first trial in the Kenyan post-election violence of 2007-2008. The deputy president of Kenya is accused of organizing, financing and executing crimes against humanity. During the chaos that ensued the presidential elections more than 1000 Kenyans died and more than 500.000 people were displaced from their homes.
The ICC prosecutor indicated that it requires a minimum of 413hrs and 42 witnesses to present its case against Ruto. Although the court finds the prosecutor’s estimation excessive, it requires Ruto’s presence the entirety of the trial and dismissed thereby Ruto’s excuse of absence due to state duties. The Netherlands, the ICC host state, will role out the red carpet befitting of a sitting Vice President when Ruto arrives in The Netherlands for his trial. The courtesies will continue until he arrives at the gates of the ICC, from where he’ll be considered an ordinary suspect for crimes against humanity.
Also facing similar charges is the current president of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta whose trial is scheduled to commence on 12 November of this year. Although it was recommended to set up a national tribunal to bring the trials of both Ruto and Kenyatta closer to the affected communities, the Kenyan government failed to set up such tribunal. Hence, in order to prevent impunity of crimes against humanity both cases were referred to the ICC as a court of last resort.
In a dramatic move against the ICC, on 5th September, days before Ruto’s trial, the national Parliament of Kenya withdrew from the ICC. Ruto will appear together with his co-accused and 100 Kenya Parliamentarians to answer the charges against him.