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ICC Trust Fund for Victims to visit Kenya

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He warned that he could not yet determine the amount of assistance – if any – that the TFV would provide, but said that any potential projects within Kenya would be designed to suit the needs of the particular situation.

“Interventions are engineered specifically and adapted to the context in which the projects will be implemented,” de Baan said.

Some victims of the electoral violence in Kenya welcomed the announcement, while criticising the TFV for its lack of previous engagement.

Miriam lives in the Uasin Gishu area of Kenya’s Rift Valley province, which was badly hit by the unrest. Her husband was killed in the violence, and she is glad the TFV is finally taking action.

“This is good news to hear, and I wish they could have come earlier than now,” Miriam told IWPR. “We have had very difficult moments, to a point where you wonder if there was someone who really cared at all about us. We welcome these efforts and hope it will be able to save us from a cycle of poverty.”

Others are less optimistic about what the TFV can hope to achieve.

Benson lost his wife when the Kiambaa church near Eldoret was burned down on New Year’s Day 2008. More than 30 people died in that attack.

He believes the TFV will arrive in Kenya too late, at a point when many victims have given up hope of their lives ever returning to normal.

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“I wonder what form of compensation could get us back on our feet,” Benson told IWPR. “I lost the mother of my two children and they have suffered a lot since then, and while it’s good that finally the TFV is visiting our country, it would not make much sense to me six years down the line.

“TFV coming to Kenya is a positive move but the question is, where have they been all these years?” he said. “If it’s a fund meant to assist victims’ lives and communities in which these crimes took place, then it is supposed to be immediately when they are still wounded.”

Others have also voiced concern at the TFV’s slow response.

Wilfred Nderitu, the lawyer who represents victims in the case against Ruto and Sang, said last month that his clients felt the Trust Fund had ignored them.

The ICC’s founding agreement, the Rome Statute, gives those victims who suffered harm as a direct consequence of the specific crimes with which suspects are charged a voice at the court, either in person or through a legal representative.

“Some (victims) expressed frustration that the Trust Fund for Victims has yet to take action in Kenya and that those most in need of immediate assistance may suffer irreparable harm in the period between now and the conclusion of the case,” Nderitu told judges, noting that his clients were still living in poverty six years after the violence.

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