ICC to name Kenyan politicians behind 2007 poll violence
ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has said he will name the top Kenyan politicians accused of orchestrating massive violence following the December 2007 elections. Ocampo's plans to try officials could set a strong precedent against the use of ethnic violence to achieve political power.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Kenyan politicians accused of orchestrating post-election violence after the country’s disputed Dec. 27, 2007, presidential and parliamentary elections may finally get their day in court.Skip to next paragraph
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That court, of course, will be the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, and the prosecutor will be Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the man who is also involved in cases of genocide and war crimes against Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir.
Mr. Ocampo recently met with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to inform them of the next step in the post-election violence cases, and this week told reporters that he planned to try up to a half dozen top Kenyan politicians in open court, with names released as soon as Dec. 15.
“We’ll prove that some leaders from both parties, both sides, were abusing the loyalty of their communities to attack others,” Mr. Ocampo said, in a video played for reporters planning to cover the upcoming Kenyan cases at The Hague. “The crimes committed were serious. They were not just crimes against one community or Kenya; but crimes against humanity and justice has to be done.”
It didn’t have to happen this way.
The violence of late December 2007 to mid-February 2008, which killed an estimated 1,200 people and displaced 350,000 others, had a brutal ethnic nature that shook the world’s faith in Kenya’s fragile multiparty democracy and its reputation as a stable entry point for investment into East Africa.
As part of an agreement that created a coalition government and a new parliament – through mediation conducted by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan -- the new parliamentarians were required to create a special tribunal to investigate the post-election violence. If the parliamentarians balked at this requirement, the ICC could step in and carry out the prosecution on their behalf.
Balk they did, and by July 2009 it became clear that Ocampo would have to take over the investigation.