ICC: NPWJ welcomes ICC ruling to commence trials for Kenyan post-election violence

23 Jan, 2012 | Press Releases

The Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled today that of the six individuals charged with crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the post-election violence in Kenya that began in December 2007, four will be committed to full trial, namely William Samoei Ruto, Joshua Arap Sang, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and Francis Kirimi Muthaura. Among the charges confirmed are murder, deportation and forced displacement, persecution, rape and sexual violence and other inhumane acts. The Pre-Trial Chamber II has determined that the evidence brought in the cases of Henry Kiprono Kosgey and Mohammed Hussein Ali is insufficient to support the charges, therefore these two cases will not proceed to trial at this stage.

Statement by Alison Smith, Legal Counsel of No Peace Without Justice:

“No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) welcome Pre-Trial Chamber II’s decision to confirm charges against four individuals for crimes committed during the post-election violence in Kenya, which left over one thousand people dead and displaced hundreds of thousands. The decision to launch full trials against four of the six individuals charged is a monumental step toward the achievement of justice for Kenyans. Impunity for political violence has been the norm in Kenya for far too long and this ruling by the ICC demonstrates that crimes against humanity must never go unpunished.

“This ruling is especially significant in light of the political involvement and influence of the individuals charged, among whom are two candidates for the 2012 Presidential elections: Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto. The commencement of trials of these two politicians signifies to the international community that no one is exempt from justice – regardless of identity, political affiliation or power. It also signifies that the days of rewarding violence with political power are over.

“NPWJ and the NRPTT urge the four individuals charged, along with the Government of Kenya, to continue to cooperate with the ICC, including this ruling, and to take all possible steps to guarantee that the trials proceed promptly and smoothly. While the Government of Kenya has opposed ICC involvement in investigations against these six individuals and has refused to arrest Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, who is subject to an ICC arrest warrant, this ruling affords the Government a second opportunity to demonstrate its firm opposition to the perpetration of politically-motivated mass crimes and its commitment to the ultimate goal of pursuing justice.

“Moreover, with the start of a new phase in the judicial process, we also urge the ICC to ensure that the concerns of victims and those affected by the crimes whose charges were confirmed today are heard and addressed. It is important to recall that victims have a right not only to justice, but also to reparation and assistance. Therefore, outreach efforts on the ground must be amplified in order to meet all the fundamental needs of victims and communities across Kenya who have been affected by the crimes committed during the post-election violence, with a special focus on women and children.

“NPWJ and the NRPTT recognise that with the dropping of the cases against Mr Kosgey and Mr Ali, some individuals may feel betrayed by this decision. Nevertheless, we urge all Kenyans to accept this ruling peacefully, recalling that the ICC is an independent and unbiased tribunal and that justice will ultimately be delivered – whether internationally or by domestic institutions.

“To that end, NPWJ and the NRPTT note that the pursuit of justice cannot be undertaken solely by the ICC, which focuses on perpetrators at the highest level. Kenya too has a responsibility to its citizens – including hundreds of thousands of victims – to pursue accountability and prevent impunity at all levels of perpetration. Thus far, no criminal accountability process has taken place in Kenya to address the crimes committed in 2007. NPWJ and the NRPTT therefore urge the Kenyan Judiciary to embark swiftly upon the long-overdue domestic investigations and prosecutions of all those criminally responsible for the post-election violence in Kenya .”

For further information, please contact Alison Smith on asmith@npwj.org or +32-(0)2-548-3912 or Nicola Giovannini onngiovannini@npwj.org or +32-(0)2-548-3915.