ICC rejects Kenya appeal

2012-05-24 22:21

The Hague - The International Criminal Court threw out an appeal on Thursday by four prominent Kenyans who challenged the tribunal's authority to try them over post-election killings.

The appeal by Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, former minister William Ruto, as well as by radio host Joshua arap Sang and former civil service head Francis Muthaura have been "unanimously rejected," the court said.

The Hague-based international war crimes court on 23 January ruled the four men should face trial over a wave of election-related killings in Kenya four years ago.

Lawyers representing the four Kenyans then filed a request to appeal the ruling, which was turned down on 9 March, as well as one disputing the court's authority on the issue.

The Appeals Chamber on Thursday ruled the ICC did have the authority to try the alleged crimes.

Both Kenyatta, 50, and Ruto, 45, are contenders in polls planned in Kenya for 2013 and their indictments are politically explosive.

All the defendants have voluntarily attended court hearings and they remain free in Kenya.

Three days after charges were confirmed against the four in January, Kenyatta resigned as finance minister. Muthaura, one of the most influential men in President Mwai Kibaki's circle, also stepped down as head of public service.

They face counts including orchestrating murder, rape, forcible transfer and persecution in the aftermath of the 2007 poll, which was described as one of the most violent periods in Kenya's history.

What began as political riots after the December 2007 vote soon turned into ethnic killings targeting Kenyatta's Kikuyu tribe.

They launched reprisal attacks in which homes were torched and people hacked to death in the worst outbreak of violence since Kenya acquired independence from Britain in 1963 and shattering its image as a beacon of regional stability.