Kenya Awaits ICC Rulings; Calls Continue for New Charges on Kibera and Kisumu and for Local Tribunals

The International Criminal Court is widely expected to announce rulings by its Pre-Trial Panel in the cases against the “Ocampo Six” during the third week in January.  Today’s Standard details the various options available to the Panel:

The ICC could commit all or some of the six to trial, or decline to confirm the charges if it determines that there is insufficient evidence.

It could also opt to adjourn the hearing and request the Prosecutor to consider either providing further evidence or conducting further investigations, or amending a charge because the evidence submitted appears to establish a different crime within the jurisdiction of the Court.

Once the charges have been confirmed, the Presidency of the court shall constitute a Trial Chamber.

. . . .

Ruto and Kosgey are charged with being indirect co-perpetrators of murder, forcible transfer of populations and persecution. The court ruled that there was not enough evidence that Sang was an indirect co-perpetrator in the crimes, but accused him contributing to the same set of crimes. . . .

Uhuru and Muthaura are accused of being co-perpetrators of murder under Articles 7(l)(a)), forcible transfer of persons, rape, persecution and other inhumane acts while Ali is accused of contributing to their commission.

In an article yesterday, the Institute on War and Peace Reporting discusses the calls for renewed attempts to prosecute cases on the violence in Kibera and Kisumu:

Rights activists say international indictments in cases arising from post-election violence in Kenya in 2007-08 must be expanded to cover killings and other abuses committed by police in a Nairobi neighbourhood and the city of Kisumu.

Judges at the International Criminal Court, ICC, removed the two elements when they considered the prosecutor’s application for charges in March, saying there was insufficient evidence to pin them to the individuals accused.

Lawyers say the failure to charge three of the six suspects with the shootings means the victims of violence in Kibera and Kisumu feel left out of the justice process.

Kibera, a slum area of Nairobi, and Kisumu in western Kenya experienced some of the most brutal attacks in the violence that followed a December 2007 presidential election. The Commission of Inquiry into the Post-Election Violence, set up in February 2008 to investigate the violence, found that overall, the police killed 405 of a total of 1,100 people who died during the violence, and injured a further 557. The vast majority of killings by police are thought to have occurred in Kibera and Kisumu.

When he formulated charges against six senior figures accused of responsibility for the violence, ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo accused a group of three of them, who fall into one of the two cases he brought, of being behind the Kibera and Kisumu attacks.

. . . .

When ICC judges issued their ruling on Moreno-Ocampo’s application for charges on March 8, they found insufficient evidence had been presented to link the three PNU suspects to events in Kibera and Kisumu.

The judges said there were reasonable grounds to believe that Kenyan police shot and killed more than 60 people in Kisumu, and that police killed and raped civilians in Kibera. However, they took the view that the prosecutor had failed to demonstrate that crimes in Kibera and Kisumu were part of a wider state policy, so that they would fall within the court’s jurisdiction.

“The material presented by the prosecutor does not provide reasonable grounds to believe that the events which took place in Kisumu and/or in Kibera can be attributed to Muthaura, Kenyatta and/or Ali under any mode of liability,” the judges said in their ruling.

The judges’ ruling provoked outrage among victims and raised questions about the scope of the justice process, given the omission of two key focal points of the violence.

“[Nairobi] experienced a lot of violence and Kibera was the epicentre of it,” Priscilla Nyokabi, executive director of the legal aid centre Kituo Cha Sheria in Nairobi, said. “It will be so bad if Kibera is not made to feel a sense of justice.”

According to Godfrey Musila, an expert on international law based in Nairobi, “Ideally, charges brought by the prosecutor should reflect patterns of the violence. It undermines the court when the perception around is that the epicentres of the violations are out of the scope of the cases.”

Rights activists and legal experts are urging the ICC prosecutor to renew his request for judges to include Kibera and Kisumu in the charges against Muthaura, Kenyatta and Ali.

Moreno-Ocampo told IWPR in early December that he was gathering additional evidence on crimes committed in Kibera and Kisumu, but that he would not decide whether to ask for these charges to be added to the case until ICC judges had assessed his evidence of other crimes.

And Human Rights Watch’s “Turning Pebbles” report last month on accountability for post election violence called on Kenya to establish a special judicial mechanism or “local tribunal” to go beyond the few and limited charges being brought in the ICC system.

On Kibera, please see the report of exiled investigative journalist Clifford Derrick regarding his own experience as a victim of violence intended to stop him from reporting on illicit activity to disrupt the vote in Kibera.

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