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ICC begins hearings in Kenya post-election violence cases

The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Thursday began hearings at The Hague in the cases against six Kenyans accused of crimes against humanity stemming from 2007 post-election violence [JURIST news archive]. The hearings will confirm the charges against three of the six men and will establish if prosecutors have enough evidence to hold a trial. The suspects attending Thursday's hearings, including politician Henry Kiprono Kosgey, radio broadcaster Joshua Arap Sang and presidential candidate William Samoei Ruto, will argue that the ICC does not have jurisdiction [ICC materials] over them. The other three suspects are scheduled to appear for confirmation of charges hearings on September 21. The confirmation hearings began two days after the ICC appeals chamber rejected an appeal [JURIST report] filed by the Kenyan government and confirmed a Pre-Trial Chamber ruling refusing to transfer the cases. The government of Kenya on Thursday also filed a request [PDF] to have legal representation in the courtroom to observe the confirmation of charges proceedings.

The men are part of the "Ocampo Six," and are facing trial [JURIST report] for allegedly inciting violence during and after the December 2007 Kenyan elections. The Ocampo Six include several high-ranking members of Kenya's government, the head of operations at Kass FM [official website] in Nairobi and the son of Kenya's first president, Jomo Kenyatta [Africa Within backgrounder]. Three of the men are members of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) [party website] and the other three are members of the opposing Party for National Unity (PNU). The ICC summoned the suspects [JURIST report] after determining they would not be charged in Kenya for the alleged crimes. In April, Kenya requested that the ICC dismiss the case [JURIST report], arguing that the government is capable of prosecuting the six men domestically. Lawyers for the Ocampo Six called for the timely release of evidence [JURIST report] against their clients that month as well.

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