Sunday, 9 June 2013

Kethi Kilonzo: Get this, the ICC is not the enemy of the people

Let us not forget the victims

Kethi Kilonzo: Get this, the ICC is not the enemy of the people.

The discussion of post-election violence has become faceless.  The society has forgotten (or wishes to forget) the victims.
During the mayhem there was systematic attack on Kenyans based on their ethnicity and political leanings. Attackers, organised along ethnic lines, assembled considerable logistical means and traveled long distances to burn houses, maim, kill and sexually assault their occupants because there were of particular ethnic groups and association. 
“Guilty by association” was the guiding force behind deadly revenge attacks with victims being identified not for what they did but for their ethnic association.
The free for all was made possible by the lawlessness stemming from an apparent collapse of State institutions and forces. The international community with the African Union taking a lead responded to the post election violence instantly.  From 8th to 10th January 2008 then AU Chairman John Kufuor, then President of Ghana, visited the country and initiated a mediation process between the Principals.  After he left and with the blessings of the two Principals, the mediation process was taken over by a three member panel of eminent African personalities composed of three African icons:  Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, former Mozambique Minister and First Lady Graca Machel and former President of Tanzania Benjamin Mkapa.   
The Principals in the presence of the Panel launched the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation and agreed on an Agenda Comprising four main items.  The Waki Tribunal and its Report were the result of Agenda 4.  The Waki Tribunal was formed and its report released under a written Agreement signed by the Principals.
The Waki Report recommended the creation of a special tribunal with the power to prosecute crimes committed as a result of PEV. It also recommended that if the option of a special tribunal failed, a list consisting of names of the persons bearing the greatest responsibility for the crimes committed during the PEV is forwarded to the Special Prosecutor of the ICC. This report’s findings and recommendations have never been challenged.  The Special Tribunal was never created.  The two Principals released the list prepared by the Waki Commission of persons bearing the greatest responsibility to the Special Prosecutor of the ICC through the Chair of the Panel, Kofi Annan.
Crime is a free willed choice.  It occurs when the benefits of breaking the law outweigh the costs.  It is prevalent when people pursue self-interest in the absence of effective punishment.
The ICC didn’t come to Kenya of its own motion. It was invited to Kenya by our elected representatives. We chose not to prosecute our own.  Choices have consequences. ICC is not the first international tribunal at which persons accused of bearing the greatest responsibility for crimes against international law have been tried.  The Nuremburg and Tokyo tribunals were the first.
They prosecuted persons who were primarily responsible for the atrocities committed during the Second World War. The process at the ICC is an embodiment of this principle. Justice for all humanity.  As we vigorously debate about the ICC, and the African Union’s recent resolution on the Kenyan situation, perhaps we should spare a thought or two for the faceless victims of PEV.  Are they entitled to justice? Have they obtained it.
ICC is not the enemy.  It seeks in its own fashion under international law to grant faceless and helpless victims their day in court.
Most of them have been denied that platform in their own country.

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