NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 3 – Eldoret North MP William Ruto on Wednesday dismissed as falsehood, evidence released by ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo branding him the chief architect of a criminal network that caused mayhem in the country during the post election violence of 2008.
The suspended Higher Education Minister said he was prepared to prove his innocence during the confirmation of charges hearing scheduled for September 1 at The Hague when the judges will determine whether or not to commence a war crimes case against Mr Ruto and his co-accused.
“What we are witnessing in this Ocampo thing is a tragedy of very monumental proportions, things can be cooked… lies, fabrications (made) about a person to look like it happened.,” he said.
Mr Ruto said he was prepared to defend himself against the allegations facing him “because they are all fiction. These are lies.”
“I am confident and sure that there is no mechanism to confer falsehoods and lies into any iota of truth only possible in a movie or in a book of fiction,” he added.
The evidence released by Mr Ocampo on Monday details how Mr Ruto allegedly teamed up with former Industrialisation Minister Henry Kosgey and Kass FM Radio Presenter Joshua arap Sang to coordinate violent attacks against PNU supporters in various parts of Rift Valley province which was the worst hit by the 2008 post election violence.
The chaos broke out soon after President Mwai Kibaki was announced winner of the disputed elections hotly contested by his then top challenger Raila Odinga who was named Prime Minister in a power sharing arrangement.
The prosecution gives specific dates dating back to 2005 when the trio who are among six Kenyans accused of masterminding violence held strategic meetings to plan mayhem.
In the 38-page Documents Containing Charges (DCC) released on Monday, Mr Ocampo said nine preparatory meetings and events were held under their instructions to expel people not from their communities.
To execute their plan, the prosecution said. Ruto and Kosgey together with Sang and others, created a network of perpetrators by capitalising on existing entities in the Kalenjin community.
“As early as December 2006 through January 2008, Ruto and Kosgey together with Sang and others, held no less than nine preparatory meetings and events,” Ocampo said in court documents posted on the ICC’s official website.
Mr Ocampo said in the court documents that Mr Ruto and Kosgey were in charge of a network which he said had a sort of military structure, “In 2006 and 2007, the network also had a military structure that included three “commanders” or “generals” all of whom reported to Ruto or Kosgey,” he asserted.
He also alleges that the two provided financial and material support to the direct perpetrators and also gave them instructions to carry out the attacks.
“Their planning included, selecting commanders to oversee attacks in specific areas, fundraising to purchase weapons, identifying callers to broadcast the network’s message on Sang’s show, providing guns, grenades and ammunition to the direct perpetrators, and encouraging the network to permanently drive out Kikuyu, Kamba and Kisii from the Rift Valley by using derogatory terms such as ‘madoadoa’, ‘kimoriok’, and ‘kamama’ or parables to refer to the target groups, and encouraging their followers to “take back what belonged to them,” he reported.
According to Mr Ocampo, Mr Sang used his radio station to give directions and also gather updates on the attacks by using hate speech and other names to refer to the people the perpetrators should have attacked.
He said Mr Sang helped coordinate the Kapsabet town attack by broadcasting information that “the war had started” in Kapsabet town by encouraging the network members to participate.
“Mr Sang coordinated the violence by using coded language to indicate where to attack, after which attackers gathered and attacked the location. Kass FM also broadcast instructions to close roads in the area,” he said.
Between December 30, 2007 and January 2008 he said, the three were responsible for not less than nine attacks in different locations targeting Party of National Unity supporters carried out by their direct perpetrators from their network.
In the DCC, he further blamed the three for displacement of over 400,000 people and about 230 deaths and injuries to more than 1,000 persons.
According to the Prosecutor, Mr Ruto Mr Kosgey and their network affiliates promised perpetrators immunity for the crimes, or awards if they succeeded.
He alleges that they planned attacks in Kisumu, Langas, Yamumbi, Huruma and Kiambaa.
He said the attackers of Kiambaa Assembly of God Church in January 2008 had been attending the network’s preparatory meetings.
“On 1 January 2008, perpetrators armed with traditional weapons attacked the Kiambaa area. Kiambaa Church was then attacked from different directions. Inhabitants were chased towards Kiambaa Church. They poured fuel on the church and mattresses, which were used to block the doors. They then set the church on fire, killing between 17 and 35 men, women, children, elderly, and disabled persons trapped inside or attempting to flee. As those inside the church attempted to flee, attackers chased them, hacking to death those that they could catch,” Mr Ocampo revealed.
Mr Ocampo said Mr Ruto commanded the network in his capacity as a Kalenjin elder and the most authoritative ODM leader in his region.
He said him and Mr Kosgey had a common goal of driving non Kalenjin communities and PNU supporters from Rift Valley by funding and offering other means of support to carry out the attacks.
He said Mr Sang used his airtime to gather updates from the perpetrators and also direct them on locations of carrying out the attacks.
He believed the three coordinated together with others through their network to drive people from Rift Valley, loot, rape and kill others to substantiate that they had indeed had a case to answer.