New opinion poll finds rise in support for ICC; many want Kenyatta to attend trial

A new opinion poll has shown that support has risen over the past four months for the International Criminal Court (ICC) trials against Kenya’s president, deputy president, and a former radio journalist.

This rise in public support for the cases at the ICC has been recorded at a time the Kenyan government has been lobbying hard to try and secure the suspension of the cases against President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and Deputy President William Samoei Ruto. Thursday’s poll also found that an overwhelming number of Kenyans want Kenyatta to attend his trial, now that the court has allowed him to be absent from parts of it.

An Ipsos Synovate poll released Thursday has shown that support for the ICC cases has gone up to 51 percent, compared to 39 percent in the firm’s July poll. Part of the increased support is conditional. Ipsos Synovate found that 42 percent of the people polled support the ICC process, without any condition. This represents a three-percentage point increase from those who gave the ICC process unconditional backing in the July poll. An additional nine percent, however, also support the ICC process so long as Kenyatta and Ruto are not required to be continually present in court during their trials.

By the time of the July poll, Trial Chamber V(a) had made a majority decision to allow Ruto to skip a significant part of his trial, but the issue of the continuous presence of any of the accused during their trials had not gained much public attention. Since that poll, though, the issue of whether Kenyatta and Ruto should attend all their trial sessions has moved from being a purely legal argument made in court to become the subject of diplomatic and political discussions in Kenya, at the African Union (AU), and the United Nations Security Council. Last month, the AU passed a strongly worded resolution calling on the Security Council to grant a deferral of the cases against the Kenyan presidency. That AU resolution was followed by high-level lobbying by a group of African foreign affairs ministers at the Security Council. However, this effort was thwarted today when the deferral request was officially rejected by the Council.

Thirty percent of the respondents told Ipsos Synovate that the ICC cases should be terminated, compared to 29 percent in July. Another 13 percent said the cases should be tried in Kenya, which is a 22 percentage point drop from July. In the July poll, 32 percent of the respondents told Ipsos Synovate that they wanted the cases tried in by a tribunal in Kenya.

Of those who support the ICC process, 40 percent said they did so because it is the best way for the victims of the post-election violence getting justice. Another 24 percent said they do not trust Kenyan court,s and another 23 percent said the ICC process will end impunity. The remainder supported the ICC process because they believe it will prevent future violence, among other reasons.

On whether Kenyatta should attend his trial, 67 percent of the respondents told Ipsos Synovate they want him to be present because the court has allowed him to be excused from part of his trial hearings. Twenty-five percent said that they want Kenyatta to stay away from his trial irrespective of the court’s decisions.

Kenyatta is scheduled to go on trial in February next year. He faces five counts of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the violence that rocked Kenya after the December 2007 presidential election. Ruto’s trial opened in September. He and his co-accused Joshua arap Sang each face three counts of crimes against humanity for their alleged role in the December 2007-February 2008 violence, commonly referred to as post-election violence.

Thursday’s poll has a margin of error of 2.2 percent. It is based on face-to-face interviews of 2,060 people across Kenya conducted between November 1 and November 9. Ipsos self-funded the poll.



  1. These polls are always wrong. Kenyans are Africans and the only scientific method of evaluating them is along tribal lines. This has been said but every time we forget and fall down on our faces. I am curious. JUST WHAT DOES THE ICC CASES EXPECT TO ACHIEVE ONE WAY OR THE OTHER??

    Most likely the case will be thrown away, we shall be more divided along tribal lines. The last election results speak for me. Never again will the Kikuyus alow anyone else to be president. Why? They cannot be trusted. Moi took us to the dogs ecomically and Raila and his opposition took us to the Hague. I respect the fact that i am kikuyu becouse God found it right for me. Plus i value and respect other tribes. still remember , we are africans. Read the bible and you will realise the importance of the TRIBE.

  2. You need to look at poster’s forescasting track record before believing their numbers. someday they may get it right.

  3. Kenyan’s should respect the law let the law take it’s cause! if found guilty let them be put to justice if not it will be a very big shame to the whole world. The Kenyan’s should be faithful and leave all about the tribe’s who are the kikuyu’s kamba’s julou if it’s about tribe what about the massai,.kalenjin, waluya ????? let’s be fair thank God your still alive if it was you ???your people ?clan tribe ?to day is me tomorrow will be you !!!! allow the law do the cause .GOD BLESS YOU ALL READERS .

  4. The number of civilians killed in Kenya post election violence are not at all comparable to the number of civilians killed during the 2003 Iraq invasion and the recent occupation of Libya airspace….. No killing is ever justified, but Western countries (US, UK, France and the so called coalition forces) think their civilian kills are more justified than any other other. It is not fair that the ICC is after the African leaders. That is neocolonialism…..

    Although the world is currently made to think that Africa is the bloodiest continent,due to civil war and the likes, and that those who are committing these crime must be punished, let us be reminded that the most bloodiest and devastation war has taken place on the European continent. Millions perished during WWW I and WWW II, including civilians……….

    If Kenyatta committed a crime in Kenya, he must be tried in Kenya, not to some international ICC. He did not commit some kind of international crimes. Or does this imply that Kenya’s justice systems can not handle a case of this magnitude?

    I am also wondering as to when Africa will be represented at the UN security council as a continent?

  5. 4 out of 5 people I know at work,village,and in my town neighborhood do not support ICC for various reasons. It’s bad for reconciliation,business,development etc. I don’t believe in the poll, just maybe UK,US and France have a hand in the numbers again. The question is Justice or peace!!! We choose peace and always peace. We are not stupid or naive to let the west manipulate and impose leaders on us just like the ruined Libya,Tunisia,Egypt and now Kenya. No wonder they have no permanent friends.

  6. Trial chamber V(b) has decided today and has – maybe expectably so, after the Appeals Chamber decision in the Ruto & Sang case – reconsidered and reverted its prior excusal of the accused Uhuru Kenyatta.
    He will henceforth have to attend trial in full, with excusals only possible in exceptional circumstances and on a case-by-case basis.
    “I have important work to do in my job at home” is in future _NOT_ a sufficient base for excusal.

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