, THE HAGUE, Sep 1 – Ex-Kenyan minister William Ruto arrived at the International Criminal Court on Thursday for a hearing to confirm if he should stand trial for allegedly masterminding Kenya’s deadly post-vote violence in 2007-08.
Mr Ruto arrived in a black luxury car accompanied by family members and bodyguards but refused to talk to the 20 journalists assembled on the ICC steps.
The former Higher Education Minister, suspended Industrialisation Minister Henry Kosgey and radio executive Joshua arap Sang are facing crimes against humanity charges for their alleged role in the violent aftermath of Kenya’s contested December 2007 elections.
“I am feeling good, I have just come to explain myself here today,” Joshua arap Sang told reporters shortly after arriving. “I’m innocent, I’ll always be innocent,” Mr Sang told reporters.
Mr Ruto’s group were supporters of then opposition leader and now Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement and are alleged to have targeted supporters of Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki.
The hearings, during which prosecutors will try to convince the court they have enough evidence to go to trial, are scheduled to run until September 12.
Kenya was plunged into violence after the December 27 2007, general elections in which then opposition chief Mr Odinga accused President Kibaki of having rigged his way to re-election.
Prosecutors said some 1,300 people were killed and more than 600,000 were displaced in the east African country’s worst outbreak of violence since independence in 1963.