The ICC Pre-Trial Chamber Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova on Wednesday decided that the trial of suspects of the 2007-08 election violence in Kenya will not be held in the country.
I am of the view that holding the hearings in Kenya would have created an unnecessary distraction from the important task of implementing Kenya’s new constitution. Already, the bigwigs accused of masterminding the violence that killed 1300 and displaced over 300,000 Kenyans have ethnicized their predicament. Holding the hearings in Kenya would have handed them an opportunity for a circus of ethnicity-charged rallies and demonstrations in Nairobi.
The ICC continues to be a source of debate in Kenya and across Africa. Many have faulted the court’s apparent bias against African leaders. Some have even called it a form of neocolonialism. While admitting that the court could use a little bit more tact [principally by acknowledging that it cannot be apolitical BECAUSE it is an international court SANS a world government] I still think that it is the best hope of ending impunity on the African continent – at least until African leaders internalize the fact that it is not cool to kill your own people.
Among the cases that should have been handled with a sensitivity to political realities include Sudan and Libya [and may be the LRA in Uganda]. Kenya’s Ocampo Six, the DRC’s Jean-Pierre Bemba and Cote d’Ivoire’s Laurent Gbagbo, on the other hand, should not raise questions of national sovereignty. Murderous dictators and their henchmen do not have internal affairs. In any case sovereignty for many an African country means nothing more than sovereignty for the president and his cronies.
Tinderet MP and Minister of Industrialization Henry Kosgey has resigned. Mr. Kosgey is being charged with 12 counts of abuse of office and faces a maximum of 120 years in prison if convicted. In the latest case of fraud linked to the Minister, vehicles older than 8 years old were illegally imported into the country under his direction.
Only a few weeks ago Mr. Kosgey was among five prominent Kenyan politicians and a radio host named as suspects by the ICC prosecutor Luis Ocampo in relation to the post election violence in Kenya (2007-08) that killed 1300 and displaced 300,000.
Mr. Kosgey is Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s pointman in the Rift Valley and is the current chairman of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).
Former Commissioner of Police Hussein Ali, Ambassador Muthaura (head of civil service), William Ruto, Henry Kosgey, Joshua Sang and Uhuru Kenyatta among the six.
Messrs Kenyatta and Ruto plan to run for president in 2012. Dues to Kenya’s highly charged ethnic politics, the two leaders’ respective ethnic voting blocks will be crucial in deciding who moves into State House come 2013. Mr. Ruto is the de facto political leader of the Kalenjin community while Mr. Kenyatta claims to represent the biggest chunk of the central Kenyan vote.
Messrs Muthaura, Kenyatta and Kosgey may find themselves forced to resign. None of them has commented yet.