Special Report: As ICC names suspect Kenyan leaders, records reveal talk of more ethnic cleansing
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is expected Wednesday to accuse up to six Kenyan leaders of orchestrating the ethnic violence that killed some 1,200 people after Kenya's Dec. 27, 2007 elections.
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The Monitor, along with the Nairobi Star, obtained these documents through several intermediaries earlier this year. The Monitor met with several of the original sources to confirm that the documents were authentic. The identities of the intermediaries and sources are being withheld for their protection, but several of these individuals have agreed to testify before the ICC, and the documents have been received and accepted by both the ICC evidence unit and Kenya’s National Security Intelligence Service.Skip to next paragraph
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In minutes of their meetings, the “Friends of Ruto,” all of them elders from Ruto’s Kalenjin ethnic group, agreed that the “Rift Valley should be made ungovernable and difficult for any investigation to take place,” in the event that Ruto was arrested.
In the minutes, the leaders planned to organize “over 10,000 elite youth” to help “in dealing with our enemies.”
It is, of course, possible that the individuals named as participants in the Friends of Ruto meetings could claim that the words attributed to them were mere bluster. Yet the specificity of the plans suggests that the meetings were more than mere bombast: to recruit, arm, and pay 10,000 young men; to direct their attacks against ethnic enemies such as members of Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s Luo tribe and President Mwai Kibaki’s Kikuyu tribe; and the continuation of threats against eyewitnesses who testified to ICC investigators.
Now these 20 Friends of Ruto may find themselves the target of ICC investigations. Diplomats and human rights experts familiar with the evidence point out that the Friends of Ruto plans constitute a conspiracy to obstruct justice. And Mr. Ocampo last week indicated that he would seek the arrest of any Kenyan who attempts to obstruct the ICC investigation through destroying evidence or intimidating or bribing witnesses.
As Kenya became ungovernable after the disputed 2007election that triggered the ethnic killings, African leaders such as former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan intervened to get the warring sides of opposition leader Mr. Odinga and President Kibaki to create a powersharing agreement. But before the agreement, ethnic violence gripped swaths of Kenya, especially the Rift Valley, where supporters of Ruto -- then a key Odinga ally -- went from village to village and house to house, hacking to death ethnic Kikuyus who were presumed to be supporters of Kibaki, who is a Kikuyu.
The powersharing agreement put an end to the violence, but not the grievances behind the violence. And today, as relations between the coalition government members continue to fray, ethnic Kalenjin supporters of Ruto appear to be planning another wave of violence, both to prevent their leader from an investigation into the 2007 electoral violence and to punish those who would seek to bring down Ruto – and in their eyes, the Kalenjin people as well.
Friends of William Ruto
The Friends of Ruto, in the minutes of their meetings, betray a profound sense of paranoia about their community and the future of their leader. Their resolutions repeatedly show an ethnic group that sees itself in a battle for its very survival against the politically and economically powerful Kikuyu ethnic group, which has long dominated politics in Kenya.
Their plan appears explicitly genocidal, aiming to kill or force out all Kikuyus and Luos from what they see as Kalenjin land. And the greatest threat, these Kalenjin elders state in the minutes of their meetings, is for them to lose their strongest political voice in Nairobi: Ruto.