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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