, WASHINGTON, Jan 24- The United States on Monday urged Kenya and its people to continue cooperating with the International Criminal Court (ICC) which ruled that four key Kenyans should be tried over post-election unrest.
“We believe accountability for the 2007-2008 post-election violence is critical to ensuring Kenya’s democracy, peace, and long-term stability,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement.
The Hague-based ICC said Monday that charges of crimes against humanity had been confirmed against presidential candidates William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta over deadly unrest that erupted following a disputed 2007 presidential vote.
Ruto and Kenyatta are allies of Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki.
Two other Kenyans, radio host Joshua arap Sang, 36, and Francis Muthaura, 65, the head of Kenya’s civil service, will also face trial. Ruto and Sang were opposition supporters in 2007.
More than 1,100 people died in the post-election violence, shattering Kenya’s image as a beacon of regional stability.
While Washington makes no judgment as to the innocence or guilt of the four suspects, it calls on Kenya to live up to the spirit of its new constitution “which embraces transparency, accountability and integrity,” Nuland said.
“We urge the Kenyan government, the people of Kenya, and the individuals involved to continue to cooperate fully with the ICC proceedings and to remain focused on Kenya’s future, especially through implementation of the reform agenda,” Nuland said.
“The United States is committed to continuing to support Kenya’s ambitious reform process as Kenya looks ahead to its first national elections under the new constitution,” Nuland said.
Finance Minister Kenyatta pledged to cooperate with the ICC but stressed his innocence in the violence, while Ruto dismissed charges against him as “strange.”