International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Four Kenyans to face ICC Trial for 2008 Election Violence

This article is several weeks old, so I apologize in advance for any outdated information.

These men are being charged with crimes against humanity in response to the election violence that took place in Kenya after the 2008 elections, Over 1,100 people were killed, and 300,000 were driven from their homes by organized political factions. The men accused are deeply entrenched in Kenyan politics: one, the wealthiest man in Kenya and the son of the nation’s founding president; another, a former minister of education with a large political following. Both men have announced they will run in upcoming elections regardless of the Court’s decision.

Trial for these men, despite the bloodshed, is not necessarily what Kenya wants. In fact, it has expressly stated that it would like to conduct these trials “in house”. The ICC, however, has issued orders for the men to stand trial regardless, as it has deemed Kenya’s efforts so far inadequate.

Do you guys think this is an issue of sovereignty? The men will not be detained, and Kenya certainly has not done enough to ensure their punishment, but something about it still feels a little funny to me.

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2 responses to “Four Kenyans to face ICC Trial for 2008 Election Violence

  1. cmreed23 February 13, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    This issue certainly is very close to me, I have traveled to Kenya and learned a lot regarding the post-election violence of 2007 and how it has fundamentally impacted the country. Tribalism was perhaps the greatest contributing factor to the events that followed the election and similar to Rwanda, Kenya has made strides in ridding the country of such feelings of loyalty to individual tribes.

    That being said, there is still a substantial amount of underrepresentation of different tribal groups in government positions and power. With corruption already a great issue facing the politics of this country, I do think there is genuine merit to conducting the trials in an international setting- especially for the surviving victims of the violence. However, I also believe that conducting such trials “in house” would allow the Kenyan people to be apart of the process and receive retribution for the actions of these men.

  2. Alana Tiemessen February 14, 2012 at 9:30 am

    The international community would ideally like the Kenyan government to be able to try these cases fairly. But this is an excellent case because it really tests the complementarity principle of the ICC, which states that if a investigations and trials are not carried out nationally, because of incapacity or lack of political will, the ICC will step in as a “court of last resort.” The Kenyan government was given plenty of time to make this happen but failed and there are plenty of indications that the government would interfere in trials to ensure that its rivals are punishment and its allies are guaranteed impunity.

    That being said, the ICC can only take a few cases (4 as it turns out) and much has to be done to ensure a broader scope of accountability in Kenya prior to upcoming elections that could spark a renewal of violence.

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