BY NDUNG’U WAINAINA
The International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Louis Moreno Ocampo is set to come to Kenya in early November 2009 with purpose of engaging the Two Principals, the Parliamentarians, Victims and civil society on the best criminal accountability measures to take to prosecute those bearing the responsibility for the post-election violence. He has talked of three prong strategy vide International Criminal Court (ICC), Special tribunal for Kenya and the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission.
Last Friday October 16, 2009 marked exactly one year since the Independent Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence (CIPEV) – Waki Commission- gave its groundbreaking recommendations. Today also marks exactly one year since the report were released to the public. The report recorded that 1033 people died (though many more might have died or continue to die due to injuries or other side effects of the violence) and about 650,000 people were forcibly displaced. It was clear that without international community intervention the political crisis and violence would have explode in full scale civil war. The state institutions were compromised and were as problematic as the youth from the both sides of the political divide that were engaging in a war of attrition laced with ethnic expression.
The African Union Panel of Eminent Persons led by former United Secretary H.E. Kofi Annan brokered a peace deal on February 28, 2008 that offered a concrete roadmap to achieving durable peace, security and justice for Kenyans. Central to this roadmap is addressing impunity. The CIPEV report creatively gave a watertight recommendation: formation of Special Tribunal for Kenya failure to which the International Criminal Court would intervene. This particular recommendation caught all politicians flatfooted for it tied their hands tightly unlike previous occasions. The recommendation was a clear recognition of the reality that Kenyan criminal justice was broken, inept and corrupt to the extent that it cannot successfully prosecute impunity. True to this fact, three of the four criminal prosecutions related to post-election violence have been dismissed by the local courts due to incredible shoddy investigations.
The Special Tribunal for Kenya will provide a contemporaneous touchstone, authoritative and impartial record to which future generations may turn for truth and future politicians for warning. The purpose of the tribunal trials is to render justice and nothing else. Even the noblest of ulterior purposes can only distract from the law’s main business: to weigh the charges brought against the accused, to render judgment and to mete out punishment. The Tribunal is concerned specifically with individual criminal responsibility. It has nothing to do with community. And no politician(s) or any other person(s) should be allowed to drag or hide behind a community in pretext that his or her community is being targeted.
The Tribunal, contrary to political propaganda by MPs and their surrogates, has specific purposes, namely: to provide truth, justice and reparations to the victims; to establish accountability for individual perpetrators; to deter the perpetration of atrocities in Kenya; to facilitate the restoration of durable peace in Kenya; to develop an historical record for a conflict in which distortion of the truth and impunity has been an essential ingredient of ethnic violence; and to serve as a deterrent to perpetration of atrocities elsewhere around the world
In the preclude to the coming of the ICC Chief Prosecutor to Kenya and in marking one year since Waki Commission released its report to the public on October 18, 2008, the International Center for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) is today Sunday October 18, 2009 releasing a preliminary monitoring report on the road to the elusive post-election violence justice tilted: Post-Election Violence: Trail of lies and Betrayal.
This report captures and connects every event to the other and the dates leading to the final coming of the International Criminal Court to Kenya. The report showcase lies, denial and betrayal of the politicians to the post-election violence victims led by the Two Principals. It exposes not just lack of intention, commitment and will to prosecute masterminds of the post-election violence but also the naked shielding of perpetrators by their peers in the high echelons of political power.
It is evidently clear that the main actors in the Coalition government are not just back to the business as usual but worst their quest for raw political power and its accruing benefits to themselves supersede life and human dignity of an ordinary Kenyan. Their (politicians) actions and public political statements re a catalogue of inconsistencies and contradictions. It is only advisable at this crucial moment of Kenyan history to burst asunder this heresy of lies of leaders bestowed with responsibility to govern diligently, truthfully and with integrity.
We hope this report will assist Kenyans to open up their eyes on what merry-go round they have been taken for the last one year in name of seeking justice for the post-election violence victims by heartless leaders with no political morality. And also why ICC is not just essential in prosecuting the top perpetrators but more importantly in forcing the MPs to enact the Special Tribunal for Kenya to avoid impunity gap. Kenyans have to become not just more vigilant but take a different course against their MPs and politicians.
(Ndung’u Wainaina is the Executive Director International Center for Policy and Conflict)