Canadian High Commissioner misses the point in warning Kenyan politicians about ICC pullout

A diplomat has warned that the move last week by law makers to have Kenya pull out of the Rome Statute could jeopardise future search for international justice for Kenyans.

Canadian High Commissioner in Nairobi David Angell said pulling out of the Rome Statute, that established the International Criminal Court (ICC), would deal a blow to any future victims of violence that Kenyan judicial system would not handle.

“Canadian envoy warns in Kenyan ICC pull-out” Daily Nation

What search for international justice? Kenya’s last Parliament did not follow suspect William Ruto’s “Don’t be vague, go to The Hague” lead out of a preference for “international” justice over trying the suspects locally–rather it was an excuse for not prosecuting anyone themselves. Likewise the last Parliament did not then turn around and vote in December 2010 to withdraw from the ICC as soon as the charges came down against Ruto, Uhuru Kenyatta, Sang and the three others in consideration of the interests of “justice”. If the members of Kenyatta and Ruto’s Jubilee coalition who voted again to withdraw from the ICC on the eve of Ruto’s trial were in the least concerned about a “search for international justice” for victims of election violence–past or present–they would not have done so.

Kenyatta and Ruto as KANU leaders were on the side of election violence in Kenya in 1992 and 1997 and they certainly have not done anything to express remorse or “search for justice”–international or otherwise–for the victims. The very idea that there should be such a search for justice for victims of electoral violence is an affront to the political order in Kenya and on this Kenyatta and Ruto can easily circle the parliamentary wagons against the threat to their private sovereignty and that of their cohort.

The High Commissioner ought to appreciate that he is speaking to an audience which has, over many years, shown that it takes these thing deadly seriously. If the Canadians want to step into the current diplomatic vacuum in Nairobi to address the situation, I certainly applaud the intention, but they if they want to have influence they need to speak of things that their audience cares about.

2 thoughts on “Canadian High Commissioner misses the point in warning Kenyan politicians about ICC pullout

  1. Well said. The leadership in Kenya today is not about finding justice for the PEV victims, but about self preservation and token victim (political) empathy. By this I mean that an empathy with victims is only in as far as making political statement and not really to address the true plight of the victims otherwise, 6 years on there is still mystery about their resettlement where every so many months we are told that victims have been given either cash handouts or land and the camps closed, only a few weeks later after much suppression by the media, to hear other stories to the contrary.

    With the high rate of intimidation of witnesses, the infiltration on the witness protection program, massive leakage in OTP strategy and evidence, only a brilliant OTP and determined ICC can bring justice to the PEV victims. We will continue to follow the proceedings and hope that the few steadfast witnesses are courageous enough to carry the burden for all the others that have been discouraged.

  2. Foreigners on short term diplomatic postings to Kenya should not speak without understanding context or recent history; better to say nothing than mumble darkly about
    choices, consequences or quests for international justice. Perhaps the Kenya High Commissioner to Canada will weigh in on the side of the “First Nations” and seek ICC investigations?

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