, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 2 – The International Criminal Court (ICC) heard on Friday how three Kenyan suspects established a military-like command structure to attack the Party of National Unity supporters in 2007.
The prosecution led by Luis Moreno Ocampo told day-two of the confirmation of charges hearing against MPs William Ruto, Henry Kosgey and radio executive Joshua arap Sang that two former military generals and an ex-GSU commandant coordinated the attacks.
“Each of these three commanders was responsible for specific geographical areas. On the 14th of December (2007) they had a planning meeting that General Koech was the commander for the South Rift, General Cheruiyot as the commander for North Rift and Cherambos was the commander of the Central Rift,” said prosecutor Cynthia Thai.
The attackers were also promised cash and land as a reward for killing perceived political opponents, “They also promised monetary rewards. Perpetrators would get Sh50,000 for killing a Kikuyu and that they can acquire a piece of land. It was identified the person who would pay the reward as Ruto.”
Mr Ruto and Mr Kosgey who allegedly led the network were also accused of funding the attacks and supplying guns to the attackers.
“Witnesses say that Ruto ordered a subordinate to bring gas cylinders and significantly Ruto himself ensured that they had guns. The witness said: “I cannot tell who paid for the guns but it was Ruto who decided their destiny. When he was distributing the he said, these are for Mt Elgon, these are for South Rift…”The Prosecution counsel said.
According to Mr Ocampo’s team two witnesses saw attackers chop a baby to death in Eldoret.
“Perpetrators used petrol to burn homes, attack perceived PNU supporters with machetes and shoot those trying to escape with arrows. In one particular horrifying example of where the killings occurred, prosecution witnesses reported seeing three network perpetrators chop a baby in Langas,”
The Prosecution said Mr Sang and Mr Kosgey referred to PNU supporters as ‘weeds’.
“Ruto meant that they were to make sure the target population that was removed could not return. Witness 21 gave evidence that Kosgey incited members of the network saying, ‘the people had to get rid of the weeds’. Sang encouraged the listeners to remove perceived PNU supporters from the Rift Valley by force. After the announcement of the presidential poll results, Sang used radio broadcasts to help ignite the network’s possible displacements,” the prosecution alleged.
Mr Sang is also alleged to have asked attackers to go to Turbo and attack. “Sang issued a message on radio saying, ‘come out go to Turbo, you know their (victims) whereabouts’ and threatened those that do not participate by saying, “when we have finished with the Kikuyu we will come back to those who do not participate.”
A witness who attended a rally where they were instructed to kill Kikuyus told the court that he witnessed five people killed in one day after the directive.
“A Kalenjin man told Human Rights Watch his participation in the murder of several Kikuyu people in Eldoret town. He was part of a group that attended a community meeting in the Kapsoia area as speakers urged those present to drive all Kikuyus out of Eldoret. If we met a Kikuyu, we just beat him. I saw five people die that day personally.”
The witnesses further told the prosecutor that the attackers had informers who helped them identify Kikuyu homes so that they could be attacked.
“Members of the Network who lived in certain areas and knew where the Kikuyus lived helped the attackers identify the Kikuyu houses in that area, PNU supporters were killed. They also helped them to walk from house to house,” the prosecution alleged.
Another witness heard Mr Ruto telling a rally not to accept electoral loss and told a crowd to drive out those who were not Nandis. “Ruto used words which insinuated that Kikuyus are invaders; thieves… he told an ODM rally that they should not accept electoral loss and should chase the ‘spots’ out of Nandi and Uasin Gishu.”
The prosecution further revealed that Mr Ruto instructed network members to listen only to Kass FM and ensure that people in the region listen to Mr Sang’s morning show.
Those found listening to other stations ‘should be punished’.
Mr Sang was said to have aired calls on his morning radio show describing the Kikuyus disparagingly
He is also said to have broadcast on Kass FM using coded language understood by attackers who had attended preparatory meetings for the attacks.
“Sang’s broadcast used coded language signalling that members of the network should attack PNU supporters and indicating where the perpetrators should attack,” the prosecution asserted.
The prosecution said Mr Sang used his power and influence as one of the most popular Kalenjin presenters to direct Kalenjin populations during the attacks.
The prosecution believed the radio personality highly contributed to the attacks and the killings during the post election violence. “All this viewed as a whole establishes that Sang contributed to the crimes. He made his contributions intentionally and with the aim of furthering criminal activities of Ruto and Mr Kosgey’s network.”
Mr Ruto’s group faces charges including murder, forcible transfer and persecution committed against perceived supporters of Kibaki’s Party of National Unity (PNU) following the poll results.
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.
A second set of hearings will start on September 21 for three other suspects, including Uhuru Kenyatta, Francis Muthaura and Hussein Ali.