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

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: US Army Turns Its Best Minds Toward Ebola

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

Dissident Venezuelan General Resurfaces in New York

Antonio Rivero has resurfaced after nearly a year in hiding, appearing at United Nations in New York 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.
Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Goghi
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid