Nairobi - Kenyan Vice-President William Ruto left Nairobi to
fly to The Hague on Monday, a day before the start of his crimes against
humanity trial at the International Criminal Court.
Ruto, 46, charged with masterminding deadly post-election
violence five years ago, is the most senior politician to date to face ICC
judges, and his trial will start just days after Kenyan MPs voted to abandon
the court in a world first.
He waved to the small crowd at the airport as he left, but
made no comment.
Ruto is accused by the ICC of masterminding some of the
2007-2008 post-election unrest that left at least 1 100 dead and more than 600 000
Fellow accused Joshua arap Sang, a radio boss accused of
inciting and helping co-ordinate attacks during the violence, is already in The
Hague, after flying there over the weekend.
Both will plead not guilty.
On Sunday, Ruto prayed in church alongside President Uhuru
Kenyatta, also accused of organising a campaign of murder, rape, persecution
and deportation, whose ICC trial begins on 12 November.
However, Kenyatta on Sunday said that he will not allow both
leaders to be away from Kenya at the same time.
"We will work with ICC, and we have always promised to
do this," Kenyatta told a rally of supporters. "But it must
understand that Kenya has a constitution, and Ruto and myself won't be away at
the same time."
Kenyatta, who will also plead not guilty, said the
"charges are false and will be dismissed".
"The plotters of this scheme will be named and shamed.
The victory won't be Ruto's, Sang's or mine, but for Kenya," he said to
Kenya's 2007 elections were marred by allegations of vote
rigging, but what began as political riots quickly spiralled into a wave of
ethnic killings and reprisal attacks, the worst violence in the country since
independence in 1963.