|MPs accompanying the Six Suspects Photo/JOAN PERERUAN|
The trial of those suspected of bearing the greatest responsibility in the aftermath 2007 post-election violence in Kenya finally starts tomorrow 07.04.2011 at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague. The long process of identifying the suspects and arraigning them in the Court has had its share of drama and tragedy. The drama played itself out with the failed search for the special local tribunal to investigate and prosecute the culprits when the Members of Parliament declared "Stop being Vague go to Hague". Then, The Hague was a far distant destination but when the ICC Prosecutor Mr Moreno Ocampo revealed the identity of the Six Suspects, the tragedy for the Six dawned with the realisation of the dawn of The Hague. Yet, the drama seems to continue with a battery of MPs accompanying the Six to the Courtroom. The way the drama is unfolding one would be forgiven to think the Six were the victims and the ICC or precisely the Prosecutor was the perpetrator. The real victims the displaced, maimed, raped, the dead and their families do not count. The cry for justice is not for the victims of the violence but the Six. Kenya may misplace its priorities by overdramatizing the fate of the Six, however I hope the guest for justice for the victims and the punishment of impunity will always guide the actions of the international community and the ICC.
The Six may be innocent but at least they will have their day in the court where they can contest and demonstrate their innocence. However, the victims of the violence never had the chance to defend themselves and demonstrate their innocence.
Let us also remember that Kenya freely drove itself to the Hague and not the other way round. The ICC did not invite Kenya to The Hague. When Kenyans butchered each other and the Kenya government failed to carry out its primary responsibility of a sovereign State to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of the violence the intervention of the ICC became inevitable. This is not the first time Kenya has failed to punish impunity. We all live in the dreadful memories of the prior elections' violence and subsequent impunity and lack of criminal accountability.
|Love of a Mother Photo/PHOEBE OKALL|
As Kenyan government exercises its sovereign right to challenge the admissibility of the cases and asking for a deferral, it is only a sincere effort to create local procedures to try the suspects that will be rewarded with deferral. I truly believe that Kenya should have taken the challenge earlier and established a local tribunal rather than going The Hague path but that is water gone under the bridge now. For the Six The Hague is a reality and for the victims of the violence it is a start for justice.