Kenya: Hague and Impunity
Are we ticking the boxes for transitional justice, or are we joining the dots against Hague, or are we combating impunity? Are we wrong footed on the underlying differences between deferral and referral? These burning questions trigger deep digging into whether or not modern governments have the legitimacy to hide confidential information from the public indefinitely.
It’s beyond no reasonable doubt that the world is keenly following the ongoing tug of war between the International Criminal Court (ICC) process and the fate of ‘’ the Ocampo 6’’ in Kenya after the 7th and the 8th of April 2011. The Ocampo six who were named by ICC Chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo in reference to the 2007/2008 chaos that left 1 300 dead and over 650 000 displaced are :Uhuru Kenyatta, William Ruto, Francis Muthaura, Hussein Ali, Henry Kosgey and Joshua Sang.
From a personal point of view, much of the attention has been dilutee deviated onto the fate of the ‘’Ocampo 6’’ rather than proportioning it to the ICC’s credibility and its justifiable accountability to the African nations. When we look back and reflect critically into history; about slavery and colonization, it’s evident that African nations have not managed yet to rise above board from the remnants of the catalytic nature of their colonial masters. This sends a clear signal of a chronicle issue that, the decolonization of many minds remains a deep rooted vendetta which needs to be unmasked and cured.
For example, when we deliberately put so much trust into foreign systems to run the affairs of our own homes; then something is definitely wrong somewhere. I mean, if there is a justifiable and or a proven leakage in our own systems; that needs repair, why can’t we collectively fix it? Can’t the African nations through African union devise means to have their own ‘Hague’? which could be based for example in Arusha, Tanzania. I think Africa needs its innovative think-tank solutions to its dragging problems.
Moreover, the ritualistic attempt to restore the equilibrium between the pursuit for justice and politics in Kenya seems to be an elusive undertaking. It’s for this reason that there has been less focus on the ICC’s questionable procedures and the rights of the ‘Ocampo six’ deeming not to be well adjudicated, but more onto the opportunistic political wrangling within the Kenyan coalition government on whether to defer or refer the ongoing ICC process. It’s too unfortunate that this appears to be a deliberate political manipulation and confusion to the public on which way to go, comes the awaited 2012 general election. Then if so, what is the hidden card on the unforeseen Kenya’s legacy after 2012?
The current political climates and fortunes, and the seemingly invincible leaders of today epitomize their possibility of becoming the fugitives of tomorrow if decolonization of their minds about Hague and Impunity isn’t rightly placed. Therefore, the calculated manipulation of fears and tensions unleashed as self-perpetuating spiral of propaganda war in which many Kenyans see themselves becoming victims of drag and drop, as well as unconsciously being swallowed and wallowed into the unwitting instruments of unscrupulous political elites; questing after supremacy at the expense of deferral and referral. I think this requires a wake-up call.
In Kenya currently, there are incremental efforts to reform judiciary, the police force as well as giving teeth to the newly created truth, justice and reconciliation commission (TJRC). However, with the current impasse on both Hague and Impunity, the above mentioned efforts appear to be held hostage to political intrigues. TJRC is currently the only domestic wheel power available to address the post election violence. This is not to mention the 45 years of historical injustices that lead to the 2007/2008 chaos in the first place.
Contrarily to the political turn-coating, the tribunal is up and running. From my understanding, TJRC is already functional and out on duty collecting statements from members of the public and civil society. One thing that goes without say is; why is it that for a few months ago, the Kenyan members of society and the donor community were lured to oppose the functioning of TJRC, but have yet again recently turned to support it. Has this to do with hoodwinking on the issues encapsulating Hague and Impunity?
I strongly believe that in replacement for the ICC, the active efforts of TJRC to provide accountability for the post election violence would be far much reaching, and the best option. This is to cast the shadow on an overall detachment from the belief that the western world has all the answers to the very problems in either Middle-East or Africa. Moreover , even if the government efforts to postpone or halt the prosecutions by the ICC fails, the ICC will only determine the responsibility of six individuals, and of course some of them may be found to be innocent. Therefore, how about the rest?
With over three years since the occurrence of the violence, no major prosecutions and or investigations have ever been mounted apart from the investigations from the Waki Commission. Therefore, this underscores the possibility of prosecuting other individuals responsible for the post election violence having to wait the conclusion of the snail-paced legal reforms. Does this mean-the principles of justice have developed sophisticated, and complicated, rules of evidence and proof designed to minimize the risk that an innocent person will be found guilty?
It is imperative to say that the TJRC just like the Rwanda Genocide Commission will be a benchmark that provides context, history, and understanding rather than the belief that ICC is a cure-all paradigm. What is most important is to provide an opportunity to all Kenyans to speak to each other, to share their stories, to learn from the past and forge ahead. The calls for building bridges of dialogue, recognizing their shared humanity and work mutually together to overcome colossal injustices by building peace in the pursuit for justice while at the same time decolonizing their minds in the belief that the solutions to their problems rests in then, and not necessarily from the western world.
The author of the article is Lesiamito Malino John, from Oslo, Norway. The author is a postgraduate student in Information Systems and Computing, and can be reached on Lesiamito@gmail.com