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Trial of Kenya's VP to begin at the ICC

10 September 2013, 09:00

The Hague - Proceedings against Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto were due to open Tuesday at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, in the first trial of crimes against humanity involving a sitting leader of government.

Ruto, 46, along with co-accused Joshua Sang, a radio journalist, are accused of orchestrating crimes including murder and the forced displacement of people during ethnic violence that followed the disputed 2007 election in the east African nation.

The prosecution and defence teams were expected to give their opening statements on the first day of the trial, which is taking place at the world's only permanent court for war crimes.

Victims of the violence - which claimed more than 1 000 lives and displaced more than half a million people - were also to be given a chance to present their side.

In November, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, 51, will also stand trial at the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity for his alleged involvement in the post election violence.

Both leaders deny the charges brought against them.

While Ruto and Kenyatta were on opposing sides five years ago, they have since reconciled and ran on a joint ticket this year, in Kenya's first election since the nation-wide bloodshed.

Voters gave Kenyatta and Ruto a first-round win in March, putting them into the highest offices in the country.

Last week, Kenya's parliament passed a motion calling for the country to withdraw from the ICC.

The move comes amid growing anti-ICC sentiment across the continent, which once voiced strong support for a global court to bring an end to impunity.



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