News / Africa

Kenya Reacts as ICC Names Suspects in Election Chaos

International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo in Nairobi, 02 Dec 2010 (file)
International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo in Nairobi, 02 Dec 2010 (file)
Michael Onyiego

On Wednesday, the International Criminal Court named six high-profile suspects it believes spearheaded the country's political chaos in 2007 and 2008.  There is renewed hope for justice nearly three years later, but many, including some suspects, are surprised by the names included on the list.  

ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo released a list of suspects he believes are most responsible for the bloody aftermath of Kenya's December 2007 presidential election.

The list included familiar names, such as former Higher Education Minister William Ruto, who revealed himself to be a suspect in November after flying to The Hague to give a statement.  Ruto is seen as the political leader of Kenya's Kalenjin ethnic group, as well as a dominant political figure in Kenya's Rift Valley, where much of the 2008 violence took place.

Also named was Industrialization Minister Henry Kosgey and Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, son of Kenya's first president, who was pegged by many as a key player in the violence.

There was perhaps less speculation surrounding former police commissioner Mohammed Hussein Ali.  The inclusion of journalist Joshua Sang came as a surprise to many.  Sang is the director of Kass FM, a Rift Valley radio station which broadcasts to Kenya's Kalenjin ethnic community.

Head of Kenyan Civil Service Francis Muthaura addresses the media after being named as a suspect in Kenya's post-election chaos by ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, 15 Dec. 2010
Head of Kenyan Civil Service Francis Muthaura addresses the media after being named as a suspect in Kenya's post-election chaos by ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, 15 Dec. 2010


Perhaps the biggest surprise in the prosecutor's list was the head of Kenya's Civil Service, Francis Muthaura. Speaking to journalists shortly after being named, Muthaura maintained his innocence, but promised to cooperate with the ICC process.

"I thoroughly repudiate any suggestion that I have engaged in any activity that gives rise to responsibility under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court," Muthaura said. "In the event they do decide to issue a summons, I will voluntarily attend The Hague and respect any request the judges of the ICC have of me."

Muthaura was the subject of little speculation leading up to the prosecutor's announcement, and the former ambassador appeared shocked at being named.  He told press that he had not received any communication from Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo during the investigation.  Months earlier, the prosecutor told media that all suspects under investigation had been contacted and invited to give statements at The Hague.

But many in Kenya believe the revelation of the suspects is the first step towards justice for the victims of the violence.  A university student in Nairobi, Sally Rono, told VOA the ICC process would help end impunity in Kenya.

"I know Ocampo is not doing all this just to show us in the end there was nothing wrong with what they did," Rono said. "People got hurt. We are doing this so that we can show those big people - those people who were involved in this thing - we are not joking.  We are so serious."

But there are those who feel the list did not go far enough.  A Kenyan civil servant who asked to be identified as John doubted whether the six suspects carried out the chaos alone.

"If you check the list you can see as if it was Central and Rift Valley, which had the violence.  There must be some names missing on that list," John said. "I do not think those six guys had the capacity to mobilize violence in Mombasa, violence in Kisumu, almost everywhere."

Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo's list is only a request submitted to the International Criminal Court.  Justices will decide in the coming days whether to issue summons for the six suspects to appear at The Hague.

President Kibaki welcomed Moreno-Ocampo's announcement, stressing the suspects were innocent until proven guilty.  Kibaki said the current members of government would be allowed to keep their jobs during the ICC process.

William Ruto, Uhuru Kenyatta, Francis Muthaura and Henry Kosgey have promised to cooperate with the court.

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults 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.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid