Kenya races to transfer ICC election violence case to Africa
The conviction of Liberian President Charles Taylor sent shock waves around Africa. Kenya's President Kibaki wants to move trials of Kenyan politicians to an African, to receive 'fair' justice.
Days after the conviction of former Liberian President Charles Taylor for war crimes, Kenya's president has accelerated his efforts to have the International Criminal Court cases against four senior Kenyan leaders transferred to a court in Africa.Skip to next paragraph
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Taylor’s conviction for war crimes on April 26 at The Hague based court sent shock waves across the African continents where senior political figures, including current Sudanese President Omar al–Bashir and former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo have been indicted. President Bashir is facing arrest by the court for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the Darfur region, while Mr. Gbagbo is under arrest at the Hague for charges of crimes against humanity for his role in the deaths of 3,000 people after he refused to cede power following disputed elections in late 2010.
For Kenya, where post-election violence left at least 1,300 people dead and 600,000 displaced following the flawed December 2007 elections, the International Criminal Court has set the stage for similar criminal cases against four senior Kenyan leaders deemed most responsible for orchestrating the violence. With two of those leaders – Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former Higher Education Minister William Ruto – both planning presidential runs in the upcoming elections, and still commanding support among their own ethnic groups, the Taylor conviction has become a rallying cry for Kenya to demand a "fairer hearing" on African soil.
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The cases against Mr. Kenyatta, Mr. Ruto, former head of civil service Francis Muthaura, and radio journalist Joshua Sang were announced in January this year.
Drawing on documents and eyewitness accounts from victims and participants, the ICC's main prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo argues that these four men organized mob violence in the Central, Rift Valley, and Western provinces of Kenya, violence that sparked off after President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner of the Dec. 2007 elections. In Western and Rift Valley provinces, mobs of ethnic Luo and Kalenjin supporters targeted ethnic Kikuyu neighbors who were presumed to have voted for President Kibaki, a Kikuyu. In Central province and in the town of Naivasha, Kikuyu mobs returned the favor, targeting the Luo and Kalenjin community who were presumed to have supported Ruto, a Kalenjin, and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, a Luo.