Hold your horses on ICC hearings, Kenyans

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BY BERNARD MOMANYI

Kenyans are an interesting lot when it comes to making quick and uninformed conclusions on all matters they have no sufficient knowledge of.

Talk of matters ICC, for instance, and you will get all manner of comments from Kenyans of all walks of life—including those thought to be capable of making informed decisions perhaps due to their extensive knowledge of issues out of experience or their education levels or the company they keep.

But when it comes to jumping to conclusions, you will be amazed at how they will not hesitate to swallow words, instead choosing to bawl out comments they cannot substantiate.

Since the beginning of what is supposed to be a confirmation of charges hearing at The Hague, bar and street talk has been limited to making conclusions and bashing Ocampo for “doing shoddy investigations.”

[For the record I am neither defending Ocampo nor am I out to portray guilt on the part of any suspect facing war crime charges in The Hague]

I am merely concerned at the now too-common lexis such as “Ocampo amekwisha, these lawyers are screwing up Ocampo and the truth has been revealed” which are increasingly becoming the order of the day whenever two of more Kenyans are gathered watching the 30-minute delayed live streams from international court.

The media has also been sucked into this and is running screaming headlines such as “Defense lawyers continue to rubbish Ocampo evidence” as if to set the agenda for Kenyans to believe one side.

I even saw one suspect celebrating outside the court in The Hague chest-thumping while declaring that his defense team had ashamed the devil.

In a case of such monumental proportion, such comments should and must be reserved until the judges pronounce their verdict for this is just an initial stage where the defense and prosecution are out to lay bare their evidence and counteraccusations.

After all, who has proved beyond reasonable doubt—as learned fellows in the corridors of justice would say—that what the defense or prosecution is saying or has said is the gospel truth.

Bar talk has been awash with comments castigating Ocampo for doing shoddy investigations because he failed to investigate where the suspects were on particular days he mentioned in the case [s] he is putting up against them, with many choosing to agree with the videos and newspaper cuttings presented as evidence to prove the suspects whereabouts on specific days.

While I was almost agreeing with some of my friends purporting to have carefully analysed the newspaper cuttings and video clips, that these suspects were elsewhere on mentioned dates, I quickly recalled that a day is 24 hours and quickly restrained myself from engaging mind in debating whether or not to belief the defense team.

In the evidence given by the prosecution, Ocampo has only stated dates of the said meetings to arrange violence and not specific time which is why we need to avoid making quick conclusions like we did when we yelled that the Kenyan case was nowhere near meeting the ICC threshold.

We were to be proved wrong soon and the case was adopted by a majority ruling of the judges.

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  • Francis

    Whatever the outcome of the case one thing is true-IT IS A SHAME TO THE PEOPLE OF KENYA TO LISTEN TO THOSE ARGUMENTS.More so by the cultural ignorance from some of the comments.I take great offense to the comments regarding Bishop Kosgei by counsel for victims that “HE CAN COME TO HAGUE/GO TO US BUT NOT VISIT IDPS”. It is not his work to do so! There is no heroism in visiting camps-HOW MANY KENYANS HAVE BEEN TO THE CAMPS? I know Kosgei from days gone from Kabarnet high school where he was a source of inspiration to all of us and dedicated service in CU.We all remember the lengths he would go to host students from all schools around Kabarnet and beyond.In those years he did not have the benefit of a wheel chair and “ran around the school on his hands-ONE HAND WOULD HOLD THE BIBLE AND THE OTHER SUPPORT HIM ON THE GROUND AS HE WELCOMES VISITORS”. He is a national treasure by his strength/example and selflessness.To suggest that this man should be the one going around IDP camps or that he chooses not to go there because the people are Kikuyus is an abuse.Many/almost all people from central Kenya have/had a relative in the camps.They have not been there-CAMPS ARE NOT NATIONAL PARKS-MANY KENYANS HAVE NEVER BEEN TO OUR PARKS EVEN.I do not know how much Kalenjin he speaks -I NEVER HEARD HIM SPEAK! THERE IS NO KALENJIN IN THIS MAN! To suggest as  prosecution asserts that this man was the financier of violence but cannot even produce evidence against him in his presence is a shame-AS A COUNTRY NO SON/DAUGHTER SHOULD EVER BE SUBJECTED TO SUCH ABUSE. To say that Cherambos fits the bill because he “IS TRAINED TO ELECT ROAD-BLOCKS IS INSANE-HE IS A PROFESSIONAL OFFICER NOT MUNGIKI!-ARE POLICE OFFICERS ELSEWHERE TRAINED? “. About helicopters – THEY ARE NOT BIRDS! THEY DO NOT LAND EVERYWHERE-YOU CAN ASK ANY KENYAN WHETHER A HELICOPTER LANDED NEAR THEIR HOME.Some kids would even be named NDEGE- THEY ARE RARE.If you are evicted from Burnt-Forest you do not move to ELDORET! IT IS INSANE TO DO THAT-YOU GO TO OL-KALAU! .The counsel for the victims needs to know  the facts or ask me-I WAS AN IDP IN BURNT-FOREST IN 1969 has been affected by all others 1992/97/2007-the underlying philosophy/truth is very different from one being sold! I HAVE THE WHOLE HISTORY.  

    • Brenda Mbeya

      If you know so much why don’t you take it to CJ Dr Willy Mutunga and set the record straight

      • Dora osok

        OR PERHAPS GO TO THE HAGUE AND GIVE EVIDENCE

  • teke

    Well Francis we feel ur frustratoin but fact is Bishop Kosgei is the head of EMO foundation that in his own words at the trial is non discriminatory n helps KENYANs from all facets of life.Doesnt it seem curious that IDPS squat in his neighbourhood n this EMO n Bishop Kosgei have really done little if at all anything to ease these peoples discomfort?Ccnsider the amount spent on these trips n tell yourself the welcome difference the sorry IDPs would feel watchin him on TV

  • Stephen

    Momanyi you must be disappointed by the proceedings and the defense the suspects have out up. While I agree that a day has 24 hours, the prosecutor failed to provide enough evidence. (ENOUGH EVIDENCE) He has failed. In some cases he even redacted dates and times. Why would he do this? Simple his evidence was not consistent with the charges. Redacting dates weakened his case considerably. This guy failed to even provide phone logs and helicopter logs. Now the Judges have dismissed his argument on Helicopter timings. Pole bwana.

  • W jasa

    This is one accurate piece I have read in a long time. After listening to Katwa’s closing “This case should not be confirmed because the witnesses are anonymous” I did not expect to hear that from a lawyer considered to be one of the best in Kenya. He should have known better, the prosecution cares about witness security. Many people who blog about ICC are either driven by tribal and 2012 consideration. When the O6 make statements I know those are deliberate to look and remain credible but deep inside they are shaken to the core. We may have a new constitution but with many lazy people around who want their politicians to think for them we wont achieve anything. Our politicians know how to read Kenyans minds and they went into early presidential campaigns to use it as a tool at ICC, the law does NOT care about front runners, a criminal is a criminal. If found guilty they should be locked if there is no sufficient they should be set free. We need to think about our brothers sisters, parents, etc who lost their dear lives and  had to live in squalid conditions in IDP camps.

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