THE HAGUE, Sep 21 – Kenyan Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta arrived on Wednesday at the International Criminal Court for a pre-trial hearing on crimes against humanity charges against him and two others.
“I am fine,” he told waiting journalists as he stepped down from a black Mercedes around 1:45 pm (11H45 GMT) for the hearing to determine whether he should stand trial for masterminding Kenya’s deadly post-election violence in 2007-08.
Asked whether he was ready for the hearing, he replied “absolutely.”
Potential presidential candidate in 2012 Uhuru Kenyatta, 49, is the son of Kenya’s founding father Jomo Kenyatta.
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki’s right-hand man Francis Muthaura, 64, and ex-police chief Mohammed Hussein Ali, 55, are also facing charges for their part in the violence following Kenya’s contested December 2007 polls.
Kenyatta’s group, all supporters of Kibaki’s Party of National Unity (PNU) are suspected of devising and implementing a “common plan” to attack supporters of then opponent and now Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s party.
The three men allegedly used a Kenyan criminal organisation called the Mungiki and party youth to keep the PNU in power “by all means necessary” in what prosecutors called “one of the most violent periods in Kenya’s history.”
The ICC prosecutor’s office said 1,133 people died and more than 663,000 others were displaced after clashes between supporters of Kibaki’s ruling party and that of Odinga, when political riots turned to ethnic killings, then sparking further reprisals.