, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 3 – It was on December 15, 2010 when the International Criminal Court (ICC) became a reality after it unleashed six names from a ‘secret envelope’ handed over to the court by the Commission of Inquiry into the Post-Election Violence (CIPEV).
The six were blamed for orchestrating the violence that broke out after announcement of presidential poll on December 30, 2007.
The then ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo named top Kenyan officials who included Uhuru Kenyatta, William Ruto, Francis Muthaura, Henry Kosgey and Hussein Ali as suspects. Also in the list was journalist Joshua arap Sang.
In lining up his suspects, Ocampo appeared to have gone for three individuals associated with Raila Odinga, and three others linked to Mwai Kibaki’s regime.
Odinga claimed to have won and charged that Kibaki rigged the election manned by the former Electoral Commission of Kenya. Both sides refused to budge, leading to a bloodbath.
The two political sides fell into deep divisions that stirred the country into what proved to be a hornet’s nest with inflamed passions arising from a disputed poll and deep ethnic animosity especially between Kikuyus and Kalenjins in the Rift Valley.
Despite many warnings by the ICC that it would take up the Kenyan cases if the country failed to establish a local tribunal as recommended by CIPEV, Members of Parliament failed to pass three bills presented by former Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ministers the late Mutula Kilonzo and Martha Karua.
Former MP Gitobu Imanyara also presented a similar bill which also hit a dead end giving The Hague-based court the leeway to investigate the six Kenyans through the intervention of the ICC Prosecutor.
In what seemed to be the writing of Kenyan history in negative light, six Kenyans were present at the ICC for the initial hearing on April 7 and 8, 2011 to answer to charges of crimes against humanity.
In Kenya Case 1 against Ruto, Sang and Kosgey, Prosecutor Ocampo presented six counts charging them with crimes against humanity of murder, deportation or forcible transfer of population and persecution in Turbo town, the greater Eldoret area, Kapsabet town and Nandi Hills.
For Kenyatta, Muthaura and Ali in Kenya Case 2, the prosecutor presented 10 counts against them for being indirectly responsible for crimes committed in the wake of 2008 including murder, deportation or forcible transfer of population, rape, other forms of sexual violence and other inhumane acts.
From then, the road to The Hague ceased from being vague to lucid as the Pre-Trial Chamber went ahead to confirm charges against Kenyatta, Muthaura, Ruto and Sang on January 23, 2012.
On the other side it was a great sigh of relief for Kosgey and Ali who were let off the hook after the Chamber found evidence presented against them to be insufficient.
Since then, it has not been a rosy journey for the international court.
The Kenyan government challenged admissibility several times but failed to convince the court that there was a local process investigating the same individuals for the same crimes.