International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

The ICC in Kenya

ICC Prosecution Accuses Kenya Government of Withholding Evidence

This week, the ICC prosecutor publicly accused Kenya’s government of withholding evidence relevant to the court’s investigation in the country. In 2007, post-election violence killed 1,200 and displaced 300,000-500,000. The ICC opened its investigation in the wake of Kenya’s own failure to prosecute those most responsible as per the peace agreement. The court has issued indictments for three perpetrators from each side of the conflict; among these are current president Kenyatta and deputy president Ruto. While Kenyatta and Ruto are voluntarily standing trial, this case shows many issues with prosecuting a sitting head of state. It has provoked hostility to the court from the African Union, where Kenyatta is popular and intrusions on sovereignty are feared. Both Kenyatta and Ruto wield extensive power in Kenya; they are often absent from their hearings, and there have been accusations of intimidation and bribery of witnesses. The new accusation of withholding testament is a further demonstration of this power. While the voluntary cooperation of a sitting head of state in an ICC investigation increases the court’s legitimacy, officials’ ability to obstruct that same investigation undermines this achievement.

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