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.
The Catholic Church has urged Parliament to interrogate the moral values and family principles of two judicial nominees before approving them.
The Church came short of rejecting the nomination of Dr Willy Mutunga and Ms Nancy Barasa for the positions of Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice respectively, over questions raised about their controversial moral standing.
“The excessive emphasis on academic excellence and radical reformism is not sufficient. Justice fundamentally involves moral order,” said the Church in a statement signed by all the bishops and read by Cardinal Njue.
That is Cardinal John Njue as quoted in the Kenyan daily the Standard.
As part of the implementation of the new constitution the Judicial Service Commission recently nominated Willy Mutunga, a card carrying liberal and reformer. Many in the Kenyan right, including the Church, have come out against Dr. Mutunga – some even pandering to Kenya’s overall conservatism by claiming that Dr. Mutunga might be gay (notice Njue’s comment about “moral order”). Weird stuff.
A part of me thinks that the church is being used by people who know they will lose big time if Kenya’s judiciary gets cleaned up. This talk of morality is horse manure mere hot air. Dr. Mutunga is not a threat, at all, to the country’s conservative character – wrongly conceived or not. He is, however, a nightmare from hell for those who have benefited from corruption since 1963.
The church was on the wrong side of the constitutional debate in 2010 – and lost. It appears that they have not woken up to reality yet. Kenya is changing. If it wants to remain relevant it must change, too.
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.