The International Criminal Court cases in the Kenyan situation, who did not know about them? Who has not heard about them? If you say that you have never heard about them then you are either an incurable ignorant person or you do not live in Kenya. But I know that my reader cannot be an incurable ignorant person and, therefore, he or she probably does not live in Kenya.
These are the cases that have dominated the Kenyan atmosphere for the past six years. These are the cases that have made headlines in Kenya for the past six years. They formed subjects of discussion in every political rally. Two warring parties often spoke about them. The other blamed the other for taking them to The Hague and the other vehemently refuted the claims. It is even rumored that these cases are the ones that propelled some individuals at the helm of power because they were united against a common ‘enemy’: The ICC.
The day was Tuesday 5th April 2016. This is a day that will always remain in the minds of many Kenyans and especially in the lives of the victims of the Post-Election Violence as well as that of the accused. At exactly 6 PM on this historical day, Trial Chamber V (A) of the International Criminal Court decided, by majority, Judge Olga Herrera Carbuccia dissenting, that the case against William Samoei Ruto and Joshua Arap Sang is to be terminated.
This brought to a close a legal battle of more than half a decade, one that was duped as ‘a case against the sovereignty of the state of Kenya.’ All charges, but one who were deliberating upon the case terminated the charges on the grounds of a mistrial and, therefore, dismissed charges against humanity citing that the prosecution had failed to present sufficient evidence that would be proved beyond any reasonable doubt so as to convict the accused.
The fact is that cases have come to an end. This is however, with the exception that the Judges gave the chief prosecutor a window to present fresh charges against the accused in the event that she finds new evidence that can lead to trial. With the cases vacated, the following questions still linger in the mind of many Kenyans:
The truth is that the ICC cases have had both direct and indirect implications on the economy of this country for the past six years. The first was that the international community, though did not openly show it, and treated both the President and the Deputy President as suspects. The United Kingdom came out very clearly at one point with even the famous phrase of ‘choices have consequences.’ This to some extent tainted the image of Kenya.
Locally, the economy of the country was generally overlooked as leaders fully, with all the machinery focused on a sovereign mission to ‘save one of their own.’ Most elected leaders forgot their roles and every time they talked, only talked about the ICC cases and who fixed who and who got fixed by who.
Whenever the Deputy President visited The Hague with his ‘friends’, it was often rumored that the state sponsored their trips though the parties involved strongly refuted the claims but still, that is yet to be confirmed. With the cases over, Kenyans should take in a sigh of relief as now their leaders will at least if not at most focus on some developmental issues within the little time remaining for the next General Election set to be held on August 2017.
The victims of the Post-Election violence have and have not received justice as pledged by the Jubilee government when it first took the helm of the house of the hill. May years down the line, those staying in the Internally Displaced Persons’ camps are yet to be fully resettled. According to the government, everyone has been resettled but the reality on the ground is pathetic and alarming. The fact is most of the resettlements have only been done on paper, by word of mouth or through media declaration but not effected practically. Most people in the IDP camps have cried foul in the manner in which the resettlement exercise has been handled with some claiming that some communities have been favored over the other. The issue here is, the government may have issued the money but to whom the government may have issued the money is the mystery. The same questions still ring the bells:
Kenya has been very vocal trying to push all African states to pull out of the ICC in a mass protest because according to them, the ICC was a politically motivated court that was only targeting African leaders. The move is yet to be effected with President Hassan Omar Ahmed Alba Shir still facing charges at The Hague based court.
The opposition in Kenya has often come out, guns blazing, blaming the government for spending public money that would have otherwise been used for development to try and pull out of the ICC. Now that the sole purpose that was drying the push against withdrawal seems to have been eliminated, with the government continue pushing for the withdrawal of the African States from the ICC?
The Kenyan economy will actually change after the termination of the cases. This is because leaders will get enough time to focus of the issues of national importance. This will however depend on the willingness of the leaders to affect the same. Anyway, this is Kenya and as it is the norm, Kenya is a land of plunder and blunder and what we can do for now is to watch and pray.
The trial of William Samoei Ruto and Joshua Arap Sang opened on 10 September 2013. Mr. Ruto and Mr. Sang were accused of crimes against humanity (murder, deportation or forcible transfer of population and persecution) allegedly committed in the context of the 2007-2008 post-election violence in Kenya.
Over the course of 157 trial days, the Trial Chamber heard the testimony of 30 witnesses for the Prosecution, including two expert witnesses. During that time, the Chamber admitted into evidence 335 exhibits for the Prosecution, 226 exhibits for the Ruto Defense, and 82 exhibits for the Sang Defense. The Prosecution closed its case on 10 September 2015. At the close of the Prosecution’s case, the evidentiary record contained 92 photographs, 27 maps, 77 items of audio/visual material, and over 8,000 pages worth of documentary evidence. Throughout the trial proceedings, the Trial Chamber rendered over 400 written and oral decisions.
At the close of the Prosecution case, the Chamber admitted into evidence the prior recorded testimony of five Prosecution witnesses for the truth of their content. However, on 12 February 2016, the ICC Appeals Chamber held the statements to be inadmissible. The current decision is thus rendered on the basis of the evidentiary record as it stood on 10 September 2015, when the Prosecution closed its case, minus the prior recorded testimony of the five witnesses concerned.
Article by Juma Fred.