ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo is about to name six suspects that were behind the post-elections violence that rocked Kenya in 2008. There is heightened tension amongst the different political factions who have been accused of involvement in the riots that left hundreds if not thousands dead. The investigations by the ICC started in March this year and the Chief Prosecutor had this to say as he announced plans to launch this investigation: “Victims were hurt. They were raped, their homes burnt and they lost their cattle, they lost all means to support themselves, we are siding with them. We will do justice.”
Two cases will be presented by Moreno-Ocampo. At the heart of each are three suspects. And they will involve investigations into Kenya’s two main political parties, namely the Party of National Unity headed by current president Mwai Kibaki, and the Orange Democratic Movement whose leader is the country’s Prime Minister, Raila Odinga. William Ruto, who was recently relieved of his ministerial duties, in an attempt to prevent him being named by the prosecutor, has made attempts to prevent the ICC from naming him by seeking protection from the courts. In another interesting development, Kenya’s President Kibaki has hinted that his office will set up a local court to try suspects involved in the violence. He also said that the court would be established regardless of the outcome of the ICC’s investigation.
There is widespread concern among the locals that pursuing the perpetrators of the post-elections violence may only stir more violence in a country that has a fragile tribal congruity. But it seems the ICC is bent on preventing a repeat of the violence that saw a blatant abuse of human rights, and is keen on sending a powerful message that such reckless political behaviour will not be tolerated by the world court.
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