International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Kenya sends mixed signals on the ICC – Part 4

In this final installment of a four-part series, ICC Kenya Monitor writes about the previous diplomatic efforts to have the Kenya cases deferred and asks what all this current activity means.

Kenya has been here before. After the initial shock on December 15, 2010 when the then International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo made public whom he intended to prosecute, the Kenyan government swung into action in the new year and began a high-level lobbying effort.

President Mwai Kibaki dispatched then Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka to see the heads of state of the African countries that at the time were members of the UN Security Council, namely Gabon, Nigeria, and South Africa. He also went to neighboring Uganda. Two other cabinet ministers … Continue Reading

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Kenya sends mixed signals on the ICC – Part 3

In this third part of a four-part series, ICC Kenya Monitor writes about the effort to have the Kenya cases discussed at the May 2013 African Union summit.

As Kenya’s note verbale made its way through the UN Security Council, there was a parallel diplomatic effort to get the African Union (AU) to once again make a resolution on the Kenya cases. This push was focused on the AU Heads of State and Government summit that took place May 26 and 27, after the continental body marked the 50th anniversary of African unity on May 25.

Ordinarily the AU holds two summits every year, one in January and another in July. However, this year its second leaders’ meeting was brought forward so Africa’s presidents, prime … Continue Reading

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Kenya sends mixed signals on the ICC – Part 2

In this second part of a four-part series, ICC Kenya Monitor writes about the Kenyan government’s attempts to have the United Nations Security Council terminate the cases before the ICC. 

The Kenyan government has been executing a three-pronged strategy over the past two months with regards to the International Criminal Court (ICC). In addition to court filings and public statements, as discussed yesterday, there is a  third element of the strategy, which is the most visible. This is the diplomatic push to either terminate the Kenya cases or at least have them brought home.

It is the part of the strategy aimed at assuring President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta’s and Deputy President William Samoei Ruto’s political base that they are taking the fight to Office of … Continue Reading

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Kenya sends mixed signals on the ICC – Part 1

In this first part of a four-part series, ICC Kenya Monitor writes about the Kenyan government’s cooperation with the International Criminal Court through its court filings and public statements. 

The African Union’s (AU’s) resolution on the Kenya cases at the International Criminal Court (ICC) is part of a three-pronged strategy the Kenyan government has been executing over the past two months with regards to the ICC, where the president and deputy president are scheduled to face trial.

On Monday last week, African leaders resolved to direct the AU’s executive arm to ask the United Nations Security Council to refer the upcoming trials President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, Deputy President William Samoei Ruto, and radio journalist Joshua arap Sang face at the ICC to Kenya’s criminal … Continue Reading

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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

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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

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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

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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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