Sonko in airport drama as Uhuru departs

September 20, 2011 7:54 am
A screen grab shows Sonko arguing with a policeman/MIKE KARIUKI

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 20 – There was drama at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) on Monday night as Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta was checking in to leave for his confirmation of charges at The Hague.

The fracas began when Makadara MP Mike Sonko, Embakasi legislator Ferdinand Waititu and Juja’s William Kabogo engaged police officers in a scuffle as they tried to force their way into the international departure terminal.

Sonko, who came in crutches, claimed he was unwell and should therefore be granted special access into the terminal to escort the Deputy Prime Minister.

“This is Nairobi city. Why are you pushing us? Let us in,” some of the MPs’ supporters could be heard shouting.

Sonko had earlier in the day discharged himself from hospital where he has been undergoing treatment. The Makadara MP then stormed the Ministry of Special Programmes to demonstrate against Wednesday’s planned mass burial before going to Tom Mboya Social Hall where he donated Sh1.2 million for the Sinai fire tragedy victims.

Meanwhile, Kenyatta, Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura and Post Master General Hussein Ali left for The Hague ahead of their confirmation of charges hearings.

The three government officials take the stand at The Hague on September 21 when the second round of the confirmation of charges hearing kicks off. They will appear before Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC), for the confirmation of their alleged role in the 2007 post-poll chaos.

The hearings, which will last until October 5, will determine whether or not there is enough evidence against them, in a case that will be presided over by Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova with the assistance of Judges Hans-Peter Kaul and Cuno Tarfusser.

Kenyatta and Muthaura are accused of being indirectly responsible for the crimes against humanity that were committed in the wake of the violence including murder, forced evictions, rape and persecution.

Ali on the other hand is accused of facilitating the commission of these crimes.

“If the charges are confirmed for a suspect, the Pre-Trial Chamber commits the person to trial before a Trial Chamber, which will conduct the subsequent phase of the proceedings- the trial,” read a statement from the ICC.

Kenyatta has also taken a rare step in the proceedings, by deciding to take to the witness stand to be questioned for his alleged role. None of the other suspects have made a similar move.

Gen Ali, through his lawyer Evans Monari, on Monday filed an application to the International Criminal Court notifying the court of his intention to challenge its jurisdiction and the admissibility of the case.

Monari said the alleged crimes against his client did not qualify as crimes against humanity and that there was no substantive evidence linking Ali to the alleged crimes.

He added that there was no State-like organised group that attacked people during the post election violence in Kenya. He wants the court not to confirm the charges against Ali saying he did not commit the alleged crimes.

Ali had also written to the ICC requesting for a change of witness which was granted. Both he and Muthaura have lined up two witnesses; Kenyatta only has one witness other than himself. Muthaura will first in the line up followed by Kenyatta before Ali makes his case.

The confirmation of charges hearing in the first case targeted Eldoret North MP William Ruto, Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey and radio personality Joshua arap Sang.

All the six suspects will know their fate by the end of the year.


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