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Special Report: As ICC names suspect Kenyan leaders, records reveal talk of more ethnic cleansing

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is expected Wednesday to accuse up to six Kenyan leaders of orchestrating the ethnic violence that killed some 1,200 people after Kenya's Dec. 27, 2007 elections.

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“Our leaders worked so hard through the Annan panel of eminent African leaders and made him [Odinga] the prime minister, yet he and his close allies have betrayed the community. He has returned to hound us by supporting ICC investigations and targeting our people through evictions in Mau (Forest).... We will kick out the Luo community from our soil and all tea estates in the Rift Valley making their experience more painful than that of the house of Mumbi [he Kikuyus],” the document reads.

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The use of “we,” “us,” and “our” illustrates a community mindset, with harsh measures for those members of the community who dare to take an individual path.

In the “Declaration” dated Jan. 2, 2010, the community leaders decided “that the selfish individuals who betray the community in major decisions and even undermine the popular leadership of the community shall be treated as ‘moderate Tutsis’ who deserve the same treatment as happened to those in Rwanda.”

The Rwanda reference is chilling, but factually misinformed. In the Rwandan genocide of 1994, Hutu extremists slaughtered 800,000 members of the Tutsi minority, along with Hutu – not Tutsi -- moderates who were attempting to resolve conflicts between the two rival communities.

Witnesses singled out for punishment

Singled out for “ruthless” treatment are three local members of Parliament and 14 other members of the Kalenjin community who agreed to act as witnesses before a Kenyan commission of inquiry into the post-election violence, held last year. The so-called “Waki Commission” heard the eyewitness testimony of human rights activists and other citizens into the evidence that the violence in the Rift and across the country was not spontaneous, but organized, planned, and in many cases, paid for.

“All the witnesses who refuse to cooperate should not live to see the face of Ocampo [if] the investigations and indictments become a reality,” the Nov. 10, 2009 minutes read.

Ocampo to name suspects by Dec. 17

If Kenyan politicians are counting on the support of their people, a recent poll conducted by Synovate polling agency on the eve of Ocampo's visit found that 85 percent of Kenyans support the ICC's prosecution of those responsible for the post-election violence.

During Ocampo’s most recent visit in late November, he expressed confidence that his case was strong and that he would name the chief suspects by Dec. 17.

“Since last March, when the judges issued an authorization, my office has been investigating post electoral violence,” Ocampo told reporters in Nairobi.

While the starting point of the investigation was evidence gathered by the Kenyan National Human Rights Commission, and a report compiled by the Waki commission last year, Ocampo says that additional evidence has been gathered.

“We collected new evidence, including testimonies, videos and documents. We are not going to discuss our evidence in the media. We will do it in court,” says Ocampo.

Those caught interfering with witnesses, many of whom are now living outside of Kenya, will themselves face prosecution, Ocampo says.

How strong are the cases?

For his part, Kenya’s Attorney General Amos Wako noted that the ICC cases may not be as strong as Ocampo thinks. Mr. Wako pointed out that evidence compiled in an investigation chaired by Kenyan senior justice Philip Waki in 2008 had been unable to find sufficient evidence to warrant a trial.

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