Horn of Africa Bulletin, Volume 22, No. 11, December 2010
- The ICC intervention in Kenya A challenge of delivering justice and peace
- The South Sudan referendum Domestic & regional security implications
- Anxieties and hopes in the Sudan
The ICC intervention in Kenya A challenge of delivering justice and peace
The International Criminal Court (ICC), on 15th December 2010, named six individuals1 who are suspected to have had a major responsibility in the planning and execution of crimes against humanity in the Kenyan post election violence in 2007/2008. In making the announcement, the ICC Prosecutor Louis Moreno Ocampo was emphatic that: "These were not just crimes against innocent Kenyans... They were crimes against humanity as a whole. By breaking the cycle of impunity for massive crimes, victims and their families can have justice. And Kenyans can pave the way to peaceful elections in 2012."
Prior to this announcement President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya had also announced on 13th December 2010 that the government will establish a local tribunal and launch its own investigation, further raising questions on the panic response for an initiative that should taken place much earlier.
Previous debates have focused on whether Kenya should have a local tribunal or opt for the ICC; whether the country should go for the punishment of crimes against humanity or peace and reconciliation. With regard to the latter, the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive, and any clear separation poses a false polarization. The challenge for the implementation of the demands of both justice and peace lies in the sequencing and the delicate process of achieving the maximum good. Similarly, local tribunals do not necessarily exclude ICC proceedings. The standard procedure has been that the local tribunals adopt a hybrid system, and are composed of both local and international judges, and apply both international and domestic laws. Such tribunals would normally have primacy over local courts. In this article, I argue that the external ICC intervention to Kenyan conflict cannot have a long term impact if it is not coupled with the government commitment to end impunity at the level of violence, corruption and patronized politics. In my analysis I propose the institution of social-political harmonization mechanisms of justice and peace between the ICC and government.