Victims of Kenya violence shrug at ICC effort
Putting four senior leaders on trial at the Hague is not enough, say victims of the 2007-2008 wave of murder and arson in Kenya. The machete-swinging thugs who carried out the murders still walk free.
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“But this is not the end of impunity. Kenyans are still divided in their tribal lines. One man at the Hague is a Kikuyu, and the Kikuyus are already shouting about ‘their man.' Another is a Kalenjin, and his supporters are crying," says Mr. Kamuria.
“As long as that tribal division continues in Kenya, people will fight to support their political leaders, and there will be no end to impunity. We need people here in Kenya to face justice,” he says.
Passing the buck
The reason that Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the ICC’s chief prosecutor, opened a case on the post-election violence here was because Kenya was giving no sign that it would prosecute anyone. Attempts to create a local tribunal were shot down twice in Parliament.
Reforms to the judiciary, which the government has consistently claimed means trials can now take place in-country, are proceeding too slowly for international justice to wait.
But the world’s war crimes court cannot take on cases against the alleged 4,000 people who actually carried out the killings, the beatings and the house burnings.
On Tuesday, Kenya’s Attorney-General Githu Muigai said that it was time again for the domestic legal process to “be energized.” He announced that fresh impetus would be given to setting up a special division within the nation’s High Court to try post-election violence suspects. He has, he said, more than 5,000 files related to the clashes.
Andrews Atta-Asamoah, a conflict researcher with the Institute for Security Studies in Nairobi, commended both the ICC and the attorney general. But, he says, impunity is a “systemic phenomenon” in Kenya.
“We are seeing the beginning of the end of the long battle against it, but no matter what announcements we have seen over the last couple of days, it will take time before it’s dealt with totally.”
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