Kenya’s Deputy President, William Ruto, is back on trial at the ICC after he went home to deal with the recent terrorist attack that occurred in his country‘s mall. His trial began on September 10, 2013. He is one of the six suspects who the ICC believe are responsible for post-election violence that took place in 2007-08 resulting in the deaths of more than 1,300 people. One of the suspects is Uhuru Kenyatta, current President of Kenya. His trial will be held next month.
For those who do not know what happened in 2007, I will give you a quick summary. In December of 2007, Kenya held their general election. When the results came in and the then President of Kenya was re-elected, the people of Kenya were not pleased. They were convinced electoral fraud had occurred and began to riot. Shortly after, violence within Kenya occurred resulting in more than 1,300 dead and 500,000 displaced from their homes. How did such violence occur? The ICC believes the six suspects summoned to appear in court in 2011 are suspected of planning and organizing crimes against humanity against perceived supporters. These suspects are primarily government leaders in Kenya.
The ICC was able to summon these individuals because Kenya ratified the Rome statute in 2005 which made them a state party to the ICC. By becoming a state party, you accept jurisdiction of the Court over crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide that occur within your country.
It’s seems Kenya is doing all they can to get the ICC to drop the charges against their government leaders. In 2011, the Kenyan government filed an application challenging the admissibility of the case by claiming their own investigation on the matter and to prosecute domestically. However, the ICC rejected the application by finding there was no domestic investigation. Last month, Kenya’s Parliament voted to quit the ICC. Attorney General of Kenya, Gith Muigai, does not believe it will not affect the current cases against the Deputy President and President. He states, “So it has nothing, I assume, to do with the present cases at all. In those cases, the persons involved have declared openly, several times, that they will continue to work with the court until the cases are resolved.”
Now, let’s go back to the current trial taking place at the ICC. The ICC prosecutor issued an arrest warrant this week for former Kenyan journalist, Walter Barasa, accused of bribing witnesses in the Ruto (Deputy President) case. He apparently has offered to pay people to not testify in Court. It is up to Kenya judges to respect the arrest warrant and cooperate with the ICC. Will they cooperate? How bad does this look for Ruto?
This country is in a time of need and what happens if both the President and Deputy President of Kenya are convicted?