NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 5 – International Criminal Court (ICC) victims lawyer Wilfred Nderitu says it is now up to the government to ensure justice is delivered to the over 1,000 people killed and thousands displaced during 2007-2008 post election violence.
This follows termination of the case against Deputy President William Ruto and former broadcaster Joshua arap Sang, which means all the six suspects are now free.
Nderitu says the government should initiate the Sh10 billion restoration fund as a way to heal the victims as well as carry out a thorough inquiry on what exactly caused the violence, to avoid a recurrence in future.
“At the moment, I can only say we respect the decision,” he told a briefing after termination of the case.
“It only opens another door for the government to keep its word. It is time for the government to launch the restoration fund it promised.”
Nderitu said it is unlikely that they will be appealing the decision but noted that the victims look up to ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.
“It may be unlikely that the victim would be appealing the decision for the simple reason that the essentially victims are participants in the proceeding and not party to the proceedings,” he said.
“If there is an appeal, it is largely expected to be by the prosecutor.”
ICC Outreach Coordinator Maria Kamara on her part said the ruling shows that the independence and impartiality of the court cannot be put into question.
“Investigations are done by prosecution and defence…the judges only receive submission and evidence represented to them,” she said.
“I would still want to stand on the argument that the independence of the judges, their impartiality and the application of the law is directed at what is presented to them by the party and the participant.”
In a majority ruling, the judges found that the prosecution’s evidence was insufficient to sustain the trial.
In concurring opinions, Judges Robert Fremr and Chile Eboe-Osuji say the prosecutor’s evidence furthermore failed to prove existence of a network alleged to have committed crimes in the Rift Valley.
Judge Olga Herrera-Carbuccia dissented.
The prosecution’s evidence failed to prove that there existed a network established to plan, coordinate and execute attacks in the Rift Valley.
Ruto and Sang were alleged to be members of the network such that without its existence, then they would not have committed the alleged crimes of murder, forcible transfer of populations and persecution.