Who Is William Ruto
After more than 2 years of speculation, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (“ICC”), Luis Moreno Ocampo finally made public on December 15, 2011 the names of suspected masterminds of Kenya’s post-election violence with William Ruto being one of them. The other five suspects are Uhuru Kenyatta, Francis Muthaura, Hussein Ali, and Joshua Sang. Immediately following the naming of the six suspects or the “Ocampo Six” as they are commonly referred to, President Kibaki and his half of the coalition government went into full gear in efforts to defer the ICC prosecution of these cases. These efforts have thus far been futile and the case is moving forward, however.
On March 8, 2011, the Pre-Trial Chamber II (“the Chamber”) of ICC in the case of the Prosecutor v. William Samoei Ruto, Henry Kiprono Kosgey and Joshua Arap Sang, found that there are reasonable grounds to believe that, from December 30, 2010 until end of January 2008, Ruto, Kosgey and Sang are criminally responsible as co-perpetrators in the commission of crimes against humanity in the form of murder in locations including the greater Eldoret area (Huruma, Kiambaa, Kimumu, Langas, and Yamumbi), Kapsabet town, and Nandi Hills town, in the Uasin Gishu and Nandi Districts of the Republic of Kenya in violation of Articles 7(1)(a) and 25(3)(a) or (d) of the Rome Statute. According to the material presented, the Chamber found that perpetrators identified people belonging to enemy communities by checking their identification documents or asking for their names, killing them immediately by way of shooting with gun using crude weapons or arrows.
The Chamber also found that there were reasonable grounds to believe that Ruto, Kosgey and Sang as co-conspirators committed or contributed to the commission of crimes against humanity in the form of deportation or forcible transfer of population in locations including Turbo town, the greater Eldoret area (Huruma, Kiambaa, Kimumu, Langas, and Yamumbi), Kapsabet town, and Nandi Hills town, in the Uasin Gishu and Nandi Districts, Republic of Kenya, from December 30, 2007 to the end of January 2008 in violation of Articles 7(1)(d) and 25(3)(a) or (d) of the Rome Statute.
The Court specifically found that between December 30, 2007 and January 2008, large gangs of perpetrators associated with the network created by Ruto and Kosgey strategically converged upon Turbo Town, the greater Eldoret area, Kapsabet town and Nandi Hills town, and started burning down homes and properties owned or occupied by members of particular communities, namely Kikuyu, Kamba and Kisii, which were perceived to be PNU supporters. The destruction of property was the primary tactic used by the network’s perpetrators to forcibly remove these communities from the area in previous ethnic violence in the region.
Finally but not least, the Chamber found that from December 30, 2007 to end of January 2008, Ruto, Kosgey and Sang as co-conspirators committed or contributed to the commission of crimes against humanity in the form of persecution, when co-perpetrators and/or persons belonging to their group intentionally and in a discriminatory manner targeted civilians based on their political affiliation, committing murder, torture, and deportation or forcible transfer of population, in locations including Turbo town, the greater Eldoret area (Huruma, Kiambaa, Kimumu, Langas, and Yamumbi), Kapsabet town and Nandi Hills town in Uasin Gishu and Nandi Districts, Republic of Kenya, in violation of Articles 7(1)(h) and 25(3)(a) or (d) of the Rome Statute.
Regarding torture, the Chamber considered that the material presented was not sufficient to establish reasonable grounds to believe that acts of torture as a crime against humanity were committed in the relevant locations and at the relevant time referred to in the Prosecutor’s Application. This finding is without prejudice for the Prosecutor to present new evidence in the future substantiating this alleged crime.
The Chamber made the legally significant finding there was reasonable evidence to conclude that the PEV attacks were “systemic” and pursuant to an “organizational policy.” The Chamber noted that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there existed an organization which reflected a hierarchical structure, headed and controlled by Ruto and Kosgey by virtue of the different prominent roles they played within that organization. In addition, there are reasonable grounds to believe that, due to their positions and powers within the organization, Ruto and Kosgey were able to secure the execution of the crimes agreed upon by almost automatic compliance of the physical perpetrators with the orders given by the leaders.
Further, there were reasonable grounds to believe that from December 30, 2006 to the end of December 2007, Ruto, Kosgey and Sang, held a series of meetings in which they agreed on a common plan to punish PNU supporters and evict them from the Rift Valley, with the ultimate goal of gaining power and to create a uniform voting block in their favor.
The Chamber was satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Ruto—in his capacity as the most representative Kalenjin leader and head of the organization established provided essential contributions to the implementation of the common plan by way of organizing and coordinating the commission of widespread and systematic attacks that meet the threshold of crimes against humanity, in the absence of which the plan would have been frustrated.
The evidence indicates that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Ruto, during the preparatory meetings and in the implementation phase of the plan, gave instructions to the perpetrators – either orally or via phone messages – to carry on acts of murders, displacement and destruction of property against PNU supporters. In the opinion of the Court, Ruto satisfies the subjective elements of the crimes and that he was aware of the widespread and systematic nature of the attacks committed against the civilian population, in the context of which the crimes were perpetrated. More specifically, the material presented to the Chamber established reasonable grounds to believe that Ruto:
i. overall planned and was responsible for the implementation of the common plan in the entire Rift Valley;
ii. created a network of perpetrators to support the implementation of the common plan;
iii. directly negotiated or supervised the purchase of guns and crude weapons;
iv. gave instructions to the perpetrators as to who they had to kill and displace and whose property they had to destroy;
v. established a rewarding mechanism with fixed amounts of money to be paid to the perpetrators upon successful murder of PNU supporters or destruction of their properties.
With regard to the intention of the Prosecutor to charge Ruto, Kosgey and Sang as co-perpetrators, or in the alternative, as part of a group of persons acting with a common purpose, committed or contributed to the commission of crimes against humanity the Chamber is not persuaded that it is best practice to make simultaneous findings on modes of liability presented in the alternative. In other words, a person cannot be deemed concurrently as a principal and an accessory to the same crime.
Thus, it is the Chamber’s view that an initial decision has to be made on the basis of the material provided, as to whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that Ruto, Kosgey and Sang bear criminal responsibility for the crimes against humanity that occurred in the specific locations in the Republic of Kenya, as discussed in section II above, either as co-perpetrators, indirect co-perpetrators, or any other form of liability presented or that the Chamber finds appropriate.
In view of these conclusions, the Chamber’s assessment with regard to the attribution of criminal responsibility for Ruto, Kosgey and Sang is that it shall be confined to those crimes in respect of which the Chamber has found reasonable grounds to believe that they were committed namely, the crimes set out in Counts 1(murder), Count 2 (forcible transfer of population) and Count 4 (persecution). Having made these conclusions of fact and law, the Chamber by majority decided to issue summonses to appear for the three suspects, Ruto, Kosgey and Sang, having been satisfied that this measure is sufficient to ensure their appearance before the Court. These individuals are now set to appear before the Chamber on April 8, 2011 for the formal reading of the charges against them.
(Part IV will continue to examine the ICC case against Ruto)