News / Africa

Criticism, Obstacles Mount as Prosecutor Prepares Kenyan Case for Hague

International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo delivers a speech during the opening session of Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation forum hosted by the Kofi Annan Foundation in Nairobi, 02 Dec 2010
International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo delivers a speech during the opening session of Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation forum hosted by the Kofi Annan Foundation in Nairobi, 02 Dec 2010
Michael Onyiego

Kenyans are anxiously waiting for suspects to be named in the International Criminal Court's landmark investigation into the country's post-election chaos. But as prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo prepares to present his case to The Hague, setbacks and criticism in Kenya threaten to derail the trial.  

There are less than two weeks left until Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo's indictment deadline of December 17 expires and Kenyans across the nation are waiting to see which among the country's political and business elite will be named.

But more than a few observers in Kenya are now wondering whether or not the prosecutor's case will stick. There have been several legal challenges since the beginning of the investigation in March, and the most recent will see Mr. Ocampo present his case without crucial testimony from Kenya's police.  

On Tuesday, Kenyan Justice Kalpana Rawal again postponed scheduled testimony from police officials, after they issued an official request to the ICC for immunity from prosecution for their statements.  Rawal was clearly frustrated in making the decision, and called into question the last-minute timing of the request.

The prosecutor has stated on multiple occasions that his only targets in the violence probe were those deemed "most responsible for the violence."  Last week in Nairobi he directly dismissed police fears they would be used as a scapegoat.

"We are working with Lady Justice Rawal to interview some police officers.  They are not - they are not - under investigation.  They are called as witnesses," he said.

But the security chiefs are not convinced.  Required to cooperate with the ICC investigation under Kenyan law, they successfully delayed their testimony after arguing that a Kenyan judge should be the one to take the statements.  After Justice Rawal was appointed, police officials again stalled proceedings, demanding their questions be given in advance of the testimony.

In Tuesday's ruling, Rawal said testimony would resume by December 20.  Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo last week promised to present his case before the 17th, meaning he will be without the testimony of the security chiefs.

Local investigations into the post-election violence in 2007 and 2008 found the Kenyan police played a critical role in allowing the violence to spread and, in some cases, the killing itself.  Perhaps their most important function is helping to establish the veracity of alleged "shoot-to-kill" orders issued by senior members of the Kenyan government.


Also plaguing the ICC process are allegations from Kenyan politicians the indictments have been designed to affect the outcome of the 2012 presidential elections.  Chief among these politicians is former Higher Education Minister William Ruto.

Ruto is one of the dominant political forces in Kenya's Rift Valley, where much of the post-election violence took place. He recently revealed himself to be a suspect in Moreno-Ocampo's investigation and has hit back against his critics during the past month, accusing many, including the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights of falsifying evidence against him.

Kenyan Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka stood by Ruto at a rally over the weekend.  Musyoka told supporters that certain people were determined to see Ruto "sink" before the 2012 election.

On Tuesday, the European Union's chief diplomat in Nairobi Eric Van Der Linden defended the ICC investigation and warned politicians against inflammatory statements.

"The ICC process is an independent legal process.  Politicians should resist attempts to politicize and ethnicize the process," he said.

More than 1,000 people were killed and more than 300,000 displaced after the disputed 2007 presidential election.  President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga accused one-another of fraud after the vote, setting off two months of ethnic violence countrywide.

Despite the criticisms and allegations being thrown at him, Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo has assured Kenyans he has enough evidence to prosecute six high-profile Kenyans in two separate cases.  He says he will target the masterminds of the violence.

What remains to be seen is how Kenya's leaders react when the suspects are revealed.  Both President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga have pledged their full support for the ICC and for now the Court's detractors are on the outside looking in.  

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs