, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 31 – A lawyer for victims of the 2008 post-election violence in one of the Kenya cases before the International Criminal Court, says victims need alternative means of compensation.
Morris Anyah who is on a visit to Kenya, says the civil society, international community and other groups should intervene and help those facing sickness, homelessness and other difficulties, instead of waiting for the determination of the ICC cases before reparation is considered.
“It raises the more fundamental question of whether a criminal case is the best avenue to cater to the needs of the victims. I think there is a collective responsibility of everybody involved including the government of Kenya to take care of the victims of the post election violence,” he said.
The ICC has a provision to help victims through the Trust Victims Fund (TFV) but it has no binding obligation.
Its assistance will also depend on the decision of the Pre Trail Chamber, if the charges against the Ocampo Six are confirmed or not.
Compensation can be to a community or to individuals depending on what the court will ask the suspects to compensate if they are found guilty of the charges against them.
Anyah who is in Kenya to meet the victims said most of his clients were facing serious difficulties and wondered if they would hold on to the conclusion of the criminal cases for their problems to be addressed.
He revealed that two of the victims he was representing have since died.
“One victim died before I was appointed. But we only recently discovered the fact of her death. Right now the number of victims I represent is 229 and I have made a filing with the court last Friday indicating the circumstances,” he said.
Anyah attributed their deaths to the trauma and effects of the atrocities committed to them during the post election violence in Kenya in 2008.
The lawyer has been in Kenya where he has held meetings with some victims who he is not currently representing, with plans to have them included later with the progression of the cases before the ICC.
Anyah said he had met with a victim but she died a few days later.
“That was the most unfortunate case. We were deeply moved because of her braveness and the integrity she confronted her face to death. And obviously because of the circumstances her ultimate demise, a gang rape, difficulties in the hospital, to have her life terminated before she saw the conclusion of the process is quite disheartening.”
Anyah felt sorry that there were many other victims in similar situations.
He said the serious conditions they were in could not wait for the conclusion of the cases before the ICC for something to be done to have their plight addressed.
He said he had held meetings with Non-Governmental Organisations and civil society groups to see how they could intervene to help the victims.
He also urged Kenya to reconcile the country and work hard to restore stable peace by resolving differences associated to the post election violence.
“The issues are broader than what a criminal case deals with. Kenyans have to reconcile their differences, and I believe they can. They should set aside their past differences, they should move forward in a unified way,” he advised.
Anyah represents victims in the second case against Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Head of Civil Service Amb Francis Muthaura and Postmaster General Hussein Ali.
Sureta Chana represents 327 victims in the first case against Eldoret North MP William Ruto, Radio Personality Joshua arap Sang and Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey.
According to ICC Prosecutor LuisMoreno Ocampo 1,100 people died and about 3,000 others were injured during the violence in 2007/2008.
The ICC has identified 560 victims who applied and qualified as victims of the cases before the court.