ICC judges summon 'Ocampo six'

Kenyan suspects face crimes against humanity charges over post-election violence that left hundreds dead.

     Sudanese rebels Abdallah Banda, left, and Saleh Jerbo, right, have been ordered to stand trial for war crimes [AFP]

    The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued summons for six Kenyans accused of masterminding the country's worst post-election violence that claimed up to 1,500 lives, to appear before the court on April 7.

    The suspects, who have come to be referred to as the Ocampo Six, senior allies of President Mwai Kibaki and his rival Raila Odinga, were ordered to make initial appearances in two separate hearings before the court on that date, four months after the ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo named them as suspects.

    Also on Tuesday, two Sudanese rebels were ordered by the ICC to stand trial on charges they orchestrated the killing of 12 African Union peacekeepers in Darfur in 2007.

    The court said there were "substantial grounds" to believe that Abdallah Banda and Saleh Jerbo were responsible for the attack and ordered them to stand trial for war crimes following a confirmation of charges hearing in December. Both men have previously denied the charges.

    'Most responsible'

    Meanwhile, the Kenyan suspects face charges of crimes against humanity, after Moreno-Ocampo accused them of being "most responsible" for the post-election violence that rocked Kenya at the end of 2007 and at the beginning of 2008, leaving 3,500 people injured and more than 600,000 forcibly displaced.

    The group include Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, the son of Kenya's longterm leader Jomo Kenyatta who is currently serving as both deputy prime minister and finance minister.

    The others are sacked education minister William Ruto, former police chief Mohammed Hussein Ali, Francis Muthaura, the head of Kenya's public service, industrialisation minister Henry Kosgey and radio executive Joshua arap Sang.

    Kenya's post-election violence left 3,500 people injured and up to 600,000 forcibly displaced [File: AFP]

    In the case over Sudan, the Hague-based court has already issued an arrest warrant for Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir to face charges of committing genocide during the country's seven-year Darfur conflict, including seven counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes relating to the conflict.

    Banda and Jerbo have appeared in the court voluntarily.

    They are accused of intentionally directing attacks against personnel and material involved in a peacekeeping mission, as well as violence to life and pillaging, the court said in a statement on Tuesday.

    Prosecutors had previously told the court that Banda and Jerbo personally led and physically participated in the attack against the compound of the African Union Mission in Sudan at Haskanita on the evening of September 29, 2007.

    Both men described themselves as revolutionaries when they appeared in court in June last year, saying they would clear their names in the case.

    Initially, three rebel leaders were charged over the killings, but the ICC later dismissed the charges against Bahr
    Idris Abu Garda.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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