Kenya: Trial of William Samoei Ruto and Joshua arap Sang at the International Criminal Court

This background paper summarizes the relevant historical and legal background of the trial of William Samoei Ruto and Joshua arap Sang in The Hague. Ruto is currently the Deputy President of Kenya and a former member of parliament; Sang is a former radio personality.

The case relates to the post-election period of 2007–2008, when allegations of election fraud erupted in violence. It is reported that more than 1,000 people were killed, 3,500 were injured, and approximately 350,000 were displaced.

The ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, alleges that the post-election violence was coordinated and intentionally targeted civilians. She argues that opposition supporters were initially mobilized to attack ethnic Kikuyu and others perceived to have voted for the incumbent, President Mwai Kibaki. It is further alleged that further retaliation targeted other ethnic groups, who were perceived as affiliated with the opposition party. There are also allegations of police violence.

The two defendants, Ruto and Sang, are charged with crimes against humanity for their alleged involvement in the events.

For more details see our trial monitoring site,