International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

ICC vs Kenyan Government. The difficulties of action and stabilization.

Vote tampering in December of 2007 led to an eruption of violence in Kenya. 1,000 People Killed. 3,500 Injured. 600,000 Displaced. And At Least 100,000 Properties Destroyed.  In late January of this year, the ICC issued summons for four Kenyans to face charges of crimes against humanity. Since the violence roughly four years ago, the Kenyan government has not actively pursued any punitive action for “violence was perpetrated by both sides of a political and ethnic divide and included arson, rape, torture and murder.”

The author of the article applauds the ICC for stepping in where “Kenyan authorities have been remarkably consistent in evading their obligation to undertake credible criminal investigations.” However with another election approaching this year the fear of reignited violence is certainly rational.  The issue is two-fold.  First, does the action by the ICC destabilize the already fractious relationship between the citizens and government? There should be some level of concern for destabilization. The government’s self protecting behavior makes placing these Kenyan elites before the ICC nearly impossible without the citizens intervention.  Such action would delegitimize the current government, most likely leading to more violence.  The second issue is what kind of justice should be administered. The author calls for more retributive justice, but perhaps restorative justice is more appropriate to help the Kenyan people move forward? As mentioned early, the violence was “perpetrated by both sides.”  There needs to be a level of trust and transparency between government and citizens.  It seems that a truth commission would be more apt to defuse any further violence by either side.


One response to “ICC vs Kenyan Government. The difficulties of action and stabilization.

  1. Alana Tiemessen February 4, 2012 at 11:14 am

    This is a really important case for the ICC and politics and justice are very much intertwined for Kenya. Brian aptly points out the key tension of the ICC’s impact on stability. Court officials and the Prosecutors have been sensitive to this and many believe the timing of the trials is important as Kenya has an election coming up this year. It will be an important test for the Court to see if it’s pressure can prevent a recurrence of violence.

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