BBC: International Criminal Court Prosecuting Kenyan Officials for Election Violence

EDITORIAL NOTE: Waris Husain– To all my of African Sovereigns, I want to express a deep sadness in posting stories like this from the Continent. I in no way have an enmity to the plight of the African nations who live under the crippling shadow of colonialization while being bled out through globalization. The ICC and other international instruments have prosecuted African leaders and groups at a far higher rate than any of thier European counterparts- this includes the Yugoslavia proseuction which was large in scope but was a flash in the international pan. However, these individuals are guilty of the most horrendous acts imaginable, planning extrajudicial killings, rapes, and misery amongst thier own people for political ends. These indivudals are not Africans, just as the the corrupt politicans in Pakistan are not Pakistan-  they are too self-serving, crude, and hateful towards thier fellow man to be given such titles and so I post this story to shed light on them and represent Africa as her true self.

Clashes in the Mathare slum in Nairobi in January 2008

The prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) has named six high-profile Kenyans he accuses of being behind the violence that followed the disputed 2007 elections. Deputy PM and Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta was one of those named.

Some 1,200 people died and more than 500,000 fled homes in the violence. In the peace deal that followed it was agreed that the perpetrators of the violence would face justice either in Kenya or at the ICC in The Hague. Kenyan MPs have so far blocked moves to set up a local tribunal.

On Monday, President Mwai Kibaki announced the government would launch its own investigation – a move his critics have denounced as an attempt to prevent suspects being sent to The Hague. The violence broke out three years ago after Mr Kibaki’s supporters were accused of trying to rig the presidential election. It ended when Mr Kibaki and his rival Raila Odinga agreed to share power, with Mr Odinga becoming prime minister.

The ICC alleges a criminal plan was put in place in the Rift Valley for supporters of President Kibaki to be attacked after the election. ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo said that in retaliation, police were given the green light to use excessive force and a vigilante group was organised to attack civilians.

Mr Ocampo said: “These were not just crimes against innocent Kenyans. They were crimes against humanity.” He has summoned suspended education minister William Ruto, radio executive Joshua Arap Sang and Minister for Industrialisation Henry Kosgey on charges of murder, deportation, persecutions and torture.

Secretary to the cabinet Francis Kirimi Muthaura, former police chief Mohammed Hussein Ali and Mr Kenyatta face charges of murder, deportation, persecutions and rape. Mr Ocampo said he did not have evidence to pursue charges against Mr Kibaki or Mr Odinga. “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,” Mr Ocampo said.

He said the six were the “most responsible” but there were “many others” that Kenya could decide to prosecute. Kenyan police have been put on alert in case the announcement sparks renewed clashes. Each of the six will be served with a court summons, but if they fail to turn up or if they attempt to hinder the investigation – for example by intimidating witnesses – Mr Ocampo says he will request arrest warrants.

BBC East Africa correspondent Will Ross says in recent days there has been a degree of panic among some members of the usually untouchable political elite. Most Kenyans feel these prosecutions are vital in order to undermine the deeply rooted culture of impunity, our correspondent says.

The key question now is whether those accused will hand themselves over or be shielded by politicians and evade justice, he says. As the ICC investigation has gathered pace in recent months, several witnesses have been threatened, and the ICC has moved some out of the country.

Kenya has had a series of violent elections, but the disputed poll in 2007 saw the country taken to the brink of civil war. There were revenge attacks, with long-standing ethnic and economic rivalries ignited by political divisions.

Communities turned on each other with crude weapons as they were encouraged, and even paid, by power-hungry politicians, our correspondent says. The police used excessive force and carried out extra-judicial killings, he says. One of the worst incidents saw a church where about 100 people had sought sanctuary set on fire, killing dozens of people inside.

Weapons were put down only after former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan brokered a peace deal between the two presidential rivals.


  • Uhuru Kenyatta (above), deputy PM and finance minister
  • Henry Kosgey, minister for industrialisation
  • William Ruto, suspended education minister
  • Joshua Arap Sang, radio executive
  • Francis Kirimi Muthaura, secretary to the cabinet
  • Mohammed Hussein Ali, former police chief

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