International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Bensouda visits Kenya To Hear Victims’ Stories

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2012/10/201210251763823340.html

Chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda went on her first official trip to Kenya to speak to victims and displaced persons who suffered from the violence of that nation’s 2007 election. It is estimated that over 1,300 people died as a result of the violence that followed the election, and displaced some 350,000 more. 

Bensouda made it clear that the ICC would be prosecuting those most responsible for the crimes committed, namely key politicians and businessmen at the top of the chain of command. This has once again sparked the debate of how to deal with lower level perpetrators, who most likely will never be formerly tried in a court of law. The article sites one victim to the violence stating she refuses to return to her home because the individual who she witnessed killing her children and burning down her house still lives there today. This brings into the question then, how far do the reaches of justice extend? In cases when the victim is faced with their perpetrator after the conflict has ended, what can or should be done, especially if peace and reconciliation are the ultimate goals? 

Bensouda further separates the distinction between the actions of the ICC to the current elections in Kenya stating that “It is a separate process. It is not part of the elections  It is not part of politics”. However, can the ICC really separate itself from domestic politics? If the court is dependent upon the support of local governing bodies for both collection of evidence and ultimate prosecution of perpetrators, can the ICC really claim to be independent of the state politics? The ICC must be at least somewhat invested in the upcoming elections as it will partly dictate the unfolding of the future trials. 

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