Ruto had motive to fuel poll violence, says Bensouda
10 September 2013, 18:34
The Hague - Deputy President William Ruto is a powerful politician who assembled and coordinated a network of criminals to commit serious crimes during the post election violence, the prosecution said Tuesday.
International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and the lead prosecutor in the case, Anton Steynberg said they would prove that Mr Ruto and his co-accused, former radio presenter Joshua Sang were the main architects of the violence that was committed in Uasin Gishu and Nandi districts in the Rift Valley.
“Mr William Samoei Ruto was a powerful politician who was out to fulfill his political ambition and satisfy his thirst for political power,” Ms Bensouda told the Court during her opening submissions.
She said that the violence mainly targeted members of ethnic Kikuyu community who she said were viewed by Mr Ruto’s Kalenjin community as “unwelcome settlers in Rift Valley".
Mr Sang was described as the “voice of hate messages in the Rift Valley” who through his broadcasts on the popular Kass FM radio station to incite the majority Kalenjins against the minority Kikuyus in the violence hotspots.
Ms Bensouda spoke after the charges were formally read out to Mr Ruto and Mr Sang by the Presiding Judge, Justice Chile Eboe-Osuji. Both indictees pleaded not guilty to the three charges of murder, persecution and forceful transfer of population committed during the violence.
Ms Bensouda said she would rely on 22 witnesses to demonstrate to the court how Mr Ruto assembled a network of influential Kalenjin businessmen, former military officers and youths to forcefully eject the Kikuyu from the Rift Valley.
To achieve his objective, Mr Ruto mobilised resources and procured weapons which were used by the youths to commit the atrocities during the violence.
He held planning meetings both at his rural Sugoi home near Turbo and across Rift Valley where he used coded language and Kalenjin proverbs to spread his hate messages against members of the Kikuyu community, Ms Bensouda stated. He also mobilised financial resources from Kalenjin businessmen and used his own resources to fulfill the objectives of the Network, she stated.
She described Mr Sang as a radio presenter who exploited his popularity among members of the Kalenjin community to spread Mr Ruto’s hate messages and mobilise the community to go to war.
GO TO WAR
“Mr Ruto’s ultimate goal was to seize political power for himself and his party ODM through violent means if he could not do so through the ballot,” she stated.
“When the election was lost, he made the order to go to war,” she said.
Mr Stynberg listed the violence hotspots as Turbo, Kapsabet, Nandi Hills, Kiambaa, Langas, Kimumu, Huruma and Yamumbi areas in Nandi district and the greater Eldoret area.
He said that the Prosecution would prove that the attacks in those areas were not spontaneous but were as a result of careful planning.
The Prosecution witnesses, Mr Steynberg stated, will demonstrate that the attacks were preceded by the traditional Kalenjin war cry and that the attacks mainly targeted areas predominantly inhabited by members of the Kikuyu community who Mr Ruto and other members of his Network referred to as “madoadoa.”.
The attackers also wore uniforms, he said.
“The witnesses will testify that members of the Network provided transport, weapons and refreshments to the attackers,” Mr Steynberg said.
In the run-up to the 2007 general election, Mr Ruto’s party ODM campaigned on a platform of majimboism whose intention was to uproot members of the Kikuyu community from the Rift Valley, said the Prosecutor. The message resonated well with members of the Kalenjin community, he added.
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