International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Should the Kenya trials be held in Arusha or The Hague? – Part I

The accused in both Kenya cases have submitted applications to move the venue of their trials from the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is based in The Hague, the Netherlands, to either Tanzania or Kenya. It is unlikely these applications will be granted in their entirety, however, the court may decide to have part of the trials held in Arusha, Tanzania depending on logistical, financial, and other considerations.

The likelihood of the entire trial proceedings of President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, Deputy President William Samoei Ruto, and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang being held in the East Africa region is remote because the venue preferred by most parties, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, has wound down most of … Continue Reading


The issue of video link in the Kenya cases

The prosecution and the defense in the two Kenya cases at the International Criminal Court (ICC) agree on one thing: the Rome Statute that guides the court’s work is silent on whether an accused person can attend their trial via video link.

The two sides, however, disagree on what that silence means. The prosecution argues the silence is deliberate because any accused person is expected to attend their trial in person under the Rome Statute. The lawyers representing victims in the two cases agree with the prosecution. The defense teams argue that the silence allows for trial judges to exercise their discretion in deciding the circumstance and conditions under which an accused person can attend their trial, including via video link.

The … Continue Reading


Ugandan President attacks ICC during Kenyatta inauguration

Uganda’s President used the inauguration of Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta as Kenya’s fourth president to attack the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni told the gathering of dozens of African leaders and tens of thousands of Kenyans on Tuesday that he saluted Kenyan voters for rejecting “the blackmail” of the ICC by electing as president Kenyatta, who is scheduled to stand trial at the court in July. Museveni claimed unnamed states have sought to abuse the ICC for their own agenda.

“I was one of those that supported the ICC because I abhor impunity. However, the usual opinionated and arrogant actors using their careless analysis have distorted the purpose of that institution,” said Museveni, indirectly referring to unnamed Western nations that … Continue Reading


Supreme Court validates Kenyatta’s election

When Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta is sworn-in as Kenya’s fourth president next week, he will become the second African sitting head of state facing charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Kenyatta will take office next Tuesday, April 9. This was confirmed after the Supreme Court dismissed two petitions challenging his election on March 4 as well how the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) conducted the polls. On Saturday, the Supreme Court unanimously declared the elections were conducted in “a free, fair, transparent and credible manner,” in compliance with the constitution. Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, who read the summary of the judgement on behalf of the other five judges of the Supreme Court, said they would issue a detailed judgement in 14 days. … Continue Reading

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Kenya to know Supreme Court decision on Saturday

Who voted on March 4 during Kenya’s General Election is the central question in two petitions argued during two days of hearings at the Supreme Court this week. Those petitions challenge the declaration by the electoral commission that Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta was elected president.

The petitioners claimed before the Supreme Court it was unclear which register was used to confirm the identities of voters who showed up at polling stations across Kenya to cast their ballots and therefore called into question the result of the presidential election. The petitioners also claimed that records of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) showed discrepancies between the results of the presidential elections announced at the National Tallying Center and the lower electoral areas.

In … Continue Reading

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Kenya faces historic presidential petition hearing

For the first time in Kenya’s history, a petition challenging the results of a presidential election will go to a full hearing at the Supreme Court on Wednesday. This election saw Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, who faces trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC), declared winner.

As the hearing gets underway Wednesday, a court-ordered scrutiny of key elections forms from the Kenya’s 33,400 polling stations will have already gone on for one day as will the re-tallying of the results from 22 polling stations. The Supreme Court announced this decision on Monday, which it made on its own motion, a major development in itself. The decision was announced in the afternoon of the first day of a pre-trial conference to help the … Continue Reading

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What about the victims of the post-election violence?

The author is an independent expert in international justice. This article is based exclusively on open sources. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor has repeatedly emphasized that her work is for the benefit of the victims of the 2007-2008 post-election violence. This could be a way to stress that her decisions are not guided by political considerations, a statement worth making in a country like Kenya where actions ruled by corruption, bribery, and political interest are the norm rather than the exception.  The fact that the ICC prosecution’s decisions are not politically motivated is not put into question. Yet, it is … Continue Reading

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Petitions call into question Kenya’s March 4 General Elections

Two of the petitions filed challenging the final tally of Kenya’s March 4 General Election, seek not just a fresh presidential poll but call into question the credibility of the entire process. A third petition, however, seeks a readjustment of the final declared presidential result by excluding rejected votes from the count.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan, however, asserts in his responding petition that he conducted the election as the constitution dictated, and those opposing the results cannot prove beyond reasonable doubt that he acted otherwise.

The IEBC declared Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta the winner of the presidential election on March 9. On the same day, his closest competitor, Prime Minister Raila Amolo Odinga, said … Continue Reading


Kenya’s presidential vote challenge to go before Supreme Court

This week the Supreme Court is expected to receive a petition challenging the declaration of Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, who is scheduled to face trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC), as president-elect.

Kenyatta, who is facing five counts of crimes against humanity at the ICC, was declared the winner of the March 4 presidential poll by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) after five days of vote counting during which Kenya held its collective breath. Prime Minister Raila Amolo Odinga, who was declared the runner-up, said soon after the IEBC’s announcement on Saturday that he will go to the Supreme Court to challenge the results.

The constitution does not allow Kenyatta to be sworn-in before the court rules on the proposed petition. … Continue Reading

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Is the ICC ready for the Kenya cases?

Mariana Pena is an independent expert in international justice. This article is based exclusively on open sources.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has been investigating crimes committed during the 2007/2008 post-election violence in Kenya since March 2010. Six suspects appeared voluntarily before the Court in April 2011. The Court confirmed charges against four of them in January 2012. Victims have been waiting for justice for more than five years, and the trials have not even yet started. Trials in the two cases (one case against William Ruto and Joseph arap Sang, a.k.a. the Kenya I case, and the other one against Francis Muthaura and Uhuru Kenyatta, a.k.a. the Kenya II case) are set to start on April 10 and 11, 2013, that … Continue Reading