International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Lessons from Chile for Kenya: Take Heart, the Fight for Accountability is Long

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

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What Next, For the Victims of Kenya’s Post-Election Violence?

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

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Answers Needed in Eldoret

Elizabeth Evenson is a senior international justice counsel at Human Rights Watch. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

John Kituyi, a veteran journalist and editor of the Kenyan Mirror Weekly newspaper, was murdered on April 30 as he walked home from work. The Committee to Protect Journalists reported that unidentified assailants beat Kituyi severely. He later died in Eldoret Hospital.

Kituyi’s family, fellow journalists, and human rights activists in Eldoret have linked his killing to a recent article about the case against Deputy President William Ruto and the former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang before the International Criminal Court (ICC). Ruto and Sang are facing charges stemming from brutal … Continue Reading

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Kenyan President and Attorney General Make Contradictory Statements on ICC

President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta has asked Parliament to act on resolutions it first made more than four years ago to cut ties with the International Criminal Court (ICC), signalling a hardening of his government’s position against the court.

Kenyatta made his request in March this year. However, just a month later Attorney General Githu Muigai sought to assure a symposium on international crimes that Kenya remained committed to the ICC.

The President’s request is in a report on how the government is implementing Kenya’s international obligations. He submitted the report to Parliament on March 26 together with the State of the Nation speech he delivered that day. The National Assembly has debated the speech, but there has not been a debate on … Continue Reading

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Kenyan President and Chief Justice Apologize for Past Injustices

The President and the Chief Justice have publicly apologized in the past month for historical injustices Kenyans have suffered, the first such apologies by a Kenyan head of state or the head of the country’s judiciary.

The apologies fulfil one of the recommendations in the report of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC). They also mark the first time any of the TJRC’s recommendations are being implemented since the commission completed its report almost two years ago. The commission submitted its report to President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta in May 2013. It was later tabled in the National Assembly but to date it has not been debated or adopted.

Kenyatta made his apology during his annual State of the Nation speech on … Continue Reading

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Proposed International Crimes Division Will Face Constitutional Challenges, Says Report

A new report has recommended a review of the proposed jurisdiction of a yet-to-be-set-up International Crimes Division of the Kenyan High Court because it is too wide, and it has also recommended that more thought is needed on how it will be established.

The report also concluded that proposals on how the International Crimes Division will handle cases emanating from the violence that shook up Kenya after the December 2007 presidential election are bound to face constitutional and other challenges if they are not changed.

On August 8, Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice (KPTJ) released a report titled A Real Option for Justice? that analyzes proposals on how an International Crimes Division of the High Court of Kenya could be formed. … Continue Reading

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Victims of Kenya’s Post-Election Violence Still Destitute, Seeking Justice, Six Years Later

Many victims are still destitute, seeking justice or reparations, and are still suffering from the injuries they sustained during the violence that nearly tore apart Kenya six years ago, a new report has concluded.

“My husband remained in hospital for three years. Now he is never awake, he is just sleeping. He has to be carried everywhere,” Grace told Amnesty International. She is quoted in the human rights organisation’s latest report on victims’ perspectives on the post-election violence in Kenya. The report is titled, “Crying For Justice.” Amnesty International released the report last week in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Grace is one of 49 victims of the bloodshed that followed Kenya’s December 2007 presidential poll who were interviewed in-depth for Amnesty International’s … Continue Reading

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Who are the Eight Witnesses Unwilling to Testify in the Trial of Ruto and Sang? – Part 3

This is the third part of a three-part article on the witnesses the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecution is seeking to be compelled to testify in the trial of Kenyan Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang. This final part looks at if the witnesses were to testify whether such testimony would advance the prosecution’s case.

Before the eight witnesses withdrew, Karim Khan, Ruto’s lead defense lawyer, asked the court to order three of them to testify at the start of the trial. Khan’s application was supported by Sang’s lawyer, Joseph Kipchumba Kigen-Katwa. Khan wanted Witness 15, Witness 16, and Witness 336 to be part of a group of eight witnesses he considered important to start … Continue Reading

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Who are the Eight Witnesses Unwilling to Testify in the Trial of Ruto and Sang? – Part 2

This is the second part of a three-part article on the witnesses the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecution is seeking to be compelled to testify in the trial of Kenyan Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang. This part looks at the circumstances surrounding the withdrawal of the witnesses from the prosecution case.

Some of the witnesses simply cut off all communication with the Office of the Prosecutor. Others recanted their testimony. Others yet had Kenyan lawyers notify the prosecution they are withdrawing from the case.

These witnesses have had to deal with all sorts of pressures from being away from home to being offered bribes to being threatened. In the case of one witness, someone they … Continue Reading

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Who are the Eight Witnesses Unwilling to Testify in the Trial of Ruto and Sang? – Part 1

This is the first part of a three-part article on the witnesses the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecution is seeking to be compelled to testify in the trial of Kenyan Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former radio journalist Joshua arap Sang. This part looks at who the witnesses are and what they were expected to testify about.

International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has said that the eight prosecution witnesses unwilling to testify in the trial of Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and former journalist Joshua arap Sang are insider witnesses. This is ICC-speak for witnesses who make allegations that link an accused person to the crimes they are alleged to have committed.

Insider witnesses are typically expected to testify about … Continue Reading

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