International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Kofi Annan tells Kenyans not to vote for candidates indicted by the ICC

Kofi Annan (the former UN secretary general) is urging Kenyans to not vote for politicians who are going to go on trial at the ICC. The vote is in March 2013, and two candidates, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, are going to be tried. (Earlier blogs here mention this alliance).

Both candidates are actually running together, in hopes of showing that Kenyans are united. Kenyatta and Ruto were both indicted by the ICC of crimes against humanity in the 2007-2008 Kenyan crisis. Ruto was also charged for corruption. Because of this indictment, most leaders of other governments won’t want to work with them.

Annan’s recommendation was based on the fact that a leader needs to be able to meet with other heads of state and be trusted by them. “When you elect a leader who cannot do that, who will not be free or will not be easily received, it is not in the interests of the country and I’m sure the population will understand that,” Annan said.


2 responses to “Kofi Annan tells Kenyans not to vote for candidates indicted by the ICC

  1. mrmaroon14 December 6, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    The tactics of Kofi Annan are not very surprising or original. The ICC criminal trials create another way for a candidate to be attacked publicly in a negative light. Kenyan elections are barely viewed as legitimate or serious as is, so with candidates who are being indicted by the ICC running in an upcoming election, it’ll be interesting to see how citizens react. I believe the results will say a lot about the work the ICC does as well as how the Kenyan community sees it. In the David Kaye article, he touches on the fact that the actions of a lot of world leaders aren’t deterred by the ICC. In my opinion, if Kenyatta and Ruto win the Kenyan election in 2013, it will prove him extremely right.

  2. ajanofsky December 6, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    I’m uncomfortable with Kofi Annan’s remarks, although I totally agree with his opinion. I think that it has more potential to do harm than good—that it could easily set off a firestorm of criticism in Kenya that the ICC is an external instrument that is trying to politically influence the country’s elections. Sure, Annan is no longer the UN SG and he doesn’t speak for the ICC in any capacity, but as the article states he is the African Union envoy overseeing the election and is in an obvious external force who is in a position to potentially influence who becomes the next president of Kenya.

    I think that the ICC risks its legitimacy by appearing as a political (not impartial, independent) force, and although that might be unavoidable, it should try to minimize the fodder for criticism. The fact that the election and the trial are one month apart is probably not going to get a huge amount of attention. However, Kofi Annan actively bringing that fact to light and telling people not to vote for Kenyatta and Ruto is going to cause backlash—especially from Kenyatta and Ruto themselves, as well as their broad base of supporters. While Annan’s words might be good for Kenya’s political future, they could easily undermine the ICC’s.

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