Who Is William Ruto
In order to understand the International Criminal Court (ICC) case against William Ruto, it is necessary to provide background on this case that involves five other Kenyan suspects. In sum, on November 26, 2009, ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo (“ICC Chief Prosecutor or Ocampo”) sought authorization from Pre-trial Chamber II of ICC to open an investigation in connection with crimes committed during the 2007-2008 post-election violence in Kenya (PEV).
As a signatory to the Rome Statute and hence a State Party to the ICC, Kenya accepts the jurisdiction of the Court over war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide committed on its territory or by one of its nationals, thereby opening the door for Ocampo’s investigation into PEV. As a matter of law and practice, however, ICC does not open an investigation unless the subject state is unwilling or incapable of investigating the crimes; ICC is in other words a tribunal of last resort with preference given to the member states to prosecute.
Consistent with this approach, Ocampo and the Kenya government agreed on July 3, 2009 that allowed Kenya one year to start such investigation and/or prosecution and further agreed that the one year deadline be set for September 2009.
In efforts to keep ICC at bay, and following this agreement, Constitutional amendments that would have established a special tribunal, as recommended by the Waki Commission, Waki Commission, an international commission of inquiry established by the Government of Kenya to investigate PEV, failed to get the requisite consensus in parliament by the September 2009, leading to Ocampo seeking formal authorization from ICC to start his investigation.
In order to decide whether to open an investigation, ICC pre-trial judges requested clarification and additional information from the prosecutor on February 18, 2010. On 3 March 2010, the Prosecution filed his response to this clarification request which essentially comprised of a list of six names he had singled out as the most responsible for PEV based on investigations.
Almost all of Ocampo’s evidence thus far is contained in six boxes the Chief Prosecutor received from the Waki Commission on July 16, 2009. The documentation included a sealed envelope containing a list of suspects identified by the Waki Commission as those most responsible for the violence. On March 31, 2010, the Pre-Trial Chamber II of (ICC) authorized Ocampo to open his case against the six suspect as he requested.
On December 15, 2010, Ocampo publicly named the six suspects that he has evidence to show that they bear the greatest responsibility for PEV. The six suspects are, Deputy Prime-Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Industrialisation Minister Henry Kosgei (now suspended for unrelated criminal case), Higher Education Minister William Ruto (now suspended for unrelated criminal case), Head of Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Muthaura, former Police Commissioner Major-General Hussein Ali and a journalist who works with a local Kalenjin FM station Joshua Sang.
Meanwhile, as the ICC process was inching toward indictment of the “Ocampo Six,” as the six suspects are commonly referred to, the political dynamics on the ground in Kenya took a twist of historic significance: Ruto, who is accused of masterminding efforts to have Kibaki renounce his illegal swearing in and instead have Raila installed as duly elected president, now is fully aligned with the same Kibaki and has become one of, if not the fiercest critic and opponent of the same Raila he staunchly supported in his successful 2007 presidential bid and whose party he ran and won a parliamentary seat, which he still holds albeit by name only as clearly is not part of the party anymore. Ditto Henry Kosgey, albeit to a much, much lesser extent, having recently apparently only opted to rise and fall with his fellow tribesman Ruto than remain on course with ODM.
Although a more detailed analysis will follow elsewhere in this series, it must be noted here that Ruto abandoning Raila and aligning himself with Kibaki is classic opportunistic maneuver similar to his ironically abandoning Moi to join Raila. This is because no sooner Ruto worked himself close to Kibaki, Kibaki stepped up his efforts to shield the Ocampo Six from going to the Hague, an obviously greatly beneficial albeit sacrificial switch in loyalty for Ruto, but only if the switch pays off with his avoiding trial for PEV.
More specifically, when Ocampo announced his list of suspects and made it known the train had left the station, Kibaki lobbied members of the African Union (AU) to support his efforts to defer ICC prosecution of the case, which he easily obtained, given most of these African leaders know ICC is always a footstep behind any of them. Many believe Kibaki took this strategy because (1) two of the suspects, Muthaura and Uhuru are dear and close to him for many reasons personal and political and (2) having Ruto on his side is a good and valuable check against Raila for his own plans for his successor in the next elections and no one believes that to be Raila, even though Kibaki would not mind if Raila is, in fact, elected.
In any case, after obtaining AU cover, Kibaki launched a full-blown campaign many believe is a waste of tax-payers money and time to lobby the UN Security Council for deferment of the ICC cases because 3 of its permanent members, the US, Britain and France have all said they will not support Kibaki’s deferral request. Given it takes only one permanent member of the UN Security Council to veto any resolution voted on by the other members, it follows therefore that Kibaki’s efforts to lobby the UN Security Council are therefore a waste of time and money as many believe.
Meritorious or not, Kibaki’s case for deferral, which is not supported by Raila, his partner in the coalition government, is essentially as follows: allowing the cases to proceed at the Hague will result in violence by those opposed to the move in Kenya thereby creating instability. Kibaki alternatively argues that he should be given time to set-up a local tribunal to try the suspects.
Those opposed to the deferral, which by all accounts is the rest of the country other PNU strongholds and some Ruto supporters oppose the deferral for the opposite reasons, namely, Kibaki and his part of the coalition are not interested in the prosecution of these suspects at the Hague or anywhere else, including Kenya and allowing the ICC prosecution to proceed will add, not take away from national security as justice will be done for the victims of the violence.
Despite all these indications that his efforts will fail, Kibaki and his team seem undeterred and as recently yesterday (March 17, 2011) his so called Special Envoy for the deferral campaign, Kalonzo Musyoka, was in New York trying to convince the Security Council to take on the matter and even though some media outlets reported that a meeting to take up the matter had been scheduled, sources at the Council said there was no such a meeting agreed to. As a local daily reported regarding cancellation or non-happening of the meeting, a “clearly miffed Musyoka sarcastically told journalists to ‘Go and ask Tinga about it, when questioned about the meeting’s failure.” The Standard Online, Thursday, March 17, 2011.
(Part III will continue to examine Ruto’s ICC Case)