The experience in Chile shows that the quest for justice has been a long one. As Kenyans come to terms with the failure of the International Criminal Court investigation and slow pace of domestic accountability for crimes committed during the post-election violence that occurred over nine years ago, they can perhaps learn from the painful experiences of Chile and other countries from around the world that ultimately, with sufficient perseverance, victims can achieve justice.
It has been almost 27 years since the end of the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet, and under the democracies that have followed, one persistent problem has been the pursuit of justice – but only “insofar as it is possible,” to paraphrase former president Patricio Aylwin. This … Continue Reading
Judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) have decided Kenya should be referred to the court’s membership for not cooperating with the ICC during the now-terminated case against President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta.
This decision makes Kenya the third country this year to be referred to the ICC’s membership, known officially as the Assembly of State Parties (ASP). The ASP is composed of countries that have ratified the ICC’s founding law, the Rome Statute. It is also the top decision-making body of the ICC when it comes to making changes to the Rome Statute and the ICC’s rules and regulations.
Djibouti and Uganda are the first and second countries to be referred to the ASP this year. A pre-trial chamber decided on … Continue Reading
An expert witness told Kenya’s High Court the failure of a sexual violence victim to report what happened to them does not invalidate their right to reparations.
Betty Murungi testified on Friday during the hearing of a petition filed by survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) that occurred when bloodshed erupted after the December 2007 presidential poll.
The petitioners – six women and two men – are asking the court to find that the government failed to protect them during the violence that shook Kenya between December 2007 and February 2008 and is commonly referred to as post-election violence. Four organizations are also petitioners in the case. These are: the Coalition on Violence against Women; Physicians for Human Rights; the Independent … Continue Reading
Victims of sexual violence may not want to speak immediately about what they have gone through, a witness told the Kenyan High Court during a hearing into a petition filed by survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) perpetrated after the 2007 presidential poll.
Saida Ali, a former executive director of the Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW), made the observation on July 21 in response to a question from Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Edwin Okello. Ali, who is the 15th witness for the petitioners, was testifying for a second day during which lawyers representing the government and government agencies cross-examined her. You can read about her first day of testimony here.
Before Okello asked Ali his question, he had … Continue Reading
A witness said non-governmental organizations working with victims of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) committed during the upheaval that followed the December 2007 presidential election were “upset” when a top prosecutor said police did not treat the sexual violence as conflict-related.
Saida Ali told the Kenyan High Court on Wednesday that when the senior prosecutor spoke at a civil society function in October 2012, representatives of non-governmental organizations present had expected to hear more from the senior prosecutor than there was little that could be done about the SGBV cases they had on file.
“We were quite upset. We were upset because we were expecting more tangible action,” Ali told the court.
Ali is the 14th witness from the petitioners’ side to testify … Continue Reading
Judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) declined to consider a request by victims in the case against Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang to determine if the Kenyan government should provide them reparations or order the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV) to provide them with assistance.
Trial Chamber V(a) said in a 2-1 decision that the chamber no longer has the jurisdiction to decide the matter because the trial against Ruto and Sang was terminated on April 5. Judges Robert Fremr and Olga Herrera Carbuccia reasoned in the July 1 decision that because the case was closed without any conviction, the chamber cannot make any ruling on the issue of reparation.
Presiding Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji dissented, elaborating his reasoning on … Continue Reading
An international investigator and prosecutor told the Kenyan High Court that to prosecute sexual crimes it is not necessary to have medical or physical evidence to corroborate the testimony of survivors of such crimes.
Maxine Marcus said there are examples of cases in Guatemala, at the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), and at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) where accused persons were convicted on the basis of the testimony of survivors and witnesses alone.
Marcus made these observations while testifying before the Kenyan High Court on May 25. She was an expert witness for petitioners who want the government to be held responsible for its failure to protect its citizens against sexual and gender-based crimes during the violence that erupted … Continue Reading
Rashida Manjoo, a former United Nations special rapporteur, told the Kenyan High Court the State had an obligation to protect the rights of its citizens even during a conflict.
Manjoo made her observation while testifying on May 23 in a case brought by survivors of sexual and gender-based violence committed during the conflict that erupted after the December 2007 election.
The case resumed after more than a month’s break. The last hearing was held on April 15 but it was closed to the public. The hearing before that, on April 14, was open to the public and a summary of it can be read here.
In the hearing of May 23, Manjoo was called to testify as an expert witness by the petitioners. … Continue Reading
Please find below a commentary written by Emily Kenney, a consultant on transitional justice at UN Women. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Open Society Justice Initiative.
On April 5, 2016, Trial Chamber V of the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided by majority to terminate the case against William Samoie Ruto and Joshua Arap Sang. The defendants had been accused of crimes against humanity in relation to Kenya’s 2007-2008 post-election violence. While the ICC may never determine the identity of those responsible for these crimes (the Ruto and Sang decision is currently open for appeal, and the ICC’s investigation in Kenya is still technically ongoing), there is no doubt that the … Continue Reading
A psychologist told the Kenyan High Court that people displaced from their homes during the violence that followed the December 2007 presidential election continue to experience general anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder years later.
Dinah Kituyi, a counseling psychologist, shared her conclusions during an April 21 hearing into a petition filed by 25 individuals displaced from their homes (IDPs) between December 2007 and February 2008.
Three organizations that assist IDPs are also part of the petition, which was filed in 2011. These are the Federation of Women Lawyers-Kenya, the Kenya Section of the International Commission of Jurists, and the Kenya Human Rights Commission.
The petitioners are asking the court to do several things, including declaring the government responsible for the violence and displacement … Continue Reading