The Hague - The International Criminal Court prosecutor named three Kenyan government ministers and a former police chief on Wednesday among six suspects behind the east African country's post-election violence in 2008.
The widely awaited announcement of the ICC's cases has the potential to destabilise Kenya's fragile coalition, or unity government, which was formed by President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to bring the violence to an end and restore stability.
More than 1 220 people died and 350 000 were displaced, severely denting Kenya's reputation for stability in a turbulent region.
ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said he was requesting summons for suspended education minister William Ruto, finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta, industrialisation minister Henry Kiprono Kosgey, and former police chief Mohammed Hussein Ali for alleged murder, deportation, and persecutions.
The prosecutor filed two separate cases, with different charges. The other suspects are radio executive Joshua Arap Sang, and Kenya's secretary to the cabinet, Francis Kirimi Muthaura.
The ICC case is intended to act as a deterrent against violence in future elections, next due in 2012, demonstrating that politicians who instigate mayhem will be punished.
“We follow the evidence where it takes us. We are not taking into account political responsibilities ... there are political debates, but it is not my responsibility,” Moreno-Ocampo said.
The naming of suspects had heightened tensions in Kenya, where media reports say changes in the cabinet could follow as senior figures come under pressure to resign. - Reuters