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International Criminal Court: Kenya’s vice president pleads “not guilty”

Kenya’s deputy president pleaded not guilty to crimes against humanity charges at the start of his International Criminal Court (ICC) trial Tuesday, when prosecutors alleged he tried to seize power “through violent means” by directing gangs to kill opponents during post-election violence six years ago.

Vice President Ruto is one of three Kenyans, with Uhuru Kenyatta, the president, and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang, who are accused of crimes against humanity linked to the deaths of 1,300 people following disputed polls in 2007.

Ruto is the first sitting deputy head of state to go on trial at the ICC.

The court's chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda spent today outlining her case before the court’s three-judge panel, as the trial against Ruto, who flew into the Hague Monday, began. Mr. Sang also both pleaded not guilty as their joint trial commenced Tuesday. Mr. Kenyatta’s court case begins in mid-November.

“Ruto’s ultimate goal was to seize power through violent means and not through the ballot box,” Ms. Bensouda told the ICC’s Trial Chamber 5 at the start of three-and-a-half weeks of initial hearings. The cases are expected to last months or even years.

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