Kenya on tenterhooks

28 September 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

Uhuru Kenyatta is sure his file at the International Criminal Court does not contain anything that implicates him in crimes against humanity. “We go to The Hague in the full expectation that justice will prevail and the truth emerges. We are innocent,” he said ahead of a series of hearings that may bring him to trial. 

“I am fine,” Kenyatta said when he stepped down from a black Mercedes at the court last week. He said he is “absolutely” ready for the confirmation of charges hearings. It is his second time in The Hague this year. In April, he sang Kenya’s independence anthem on the stairs of the ICC, in honour of his father, Kenya’s founding president Jomo Kenyatta. This week he will be on the witness stand to counter allegations that he among “those most responsible” for violence that killed at least 1,133 people and displaced more than 663,000 others.

ICC Chief Prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo filed charges against six alleged ring-leaders of Kenya’s post-elections violence and is trying them in two cases. From the beginning of September three judges have been able to look at the evidence he has collected.

Contrary to the other cases at the ICC, the Kenyan cases draw huge attention. Family and friends of the suspects have reserved seats at the front row in the packed public galleries. They are kindly requested to make no contact with the defendants in court, but the judges do not interfere with the occasional wink of an eye.

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