International Criminal Court fever

(First published 4/10/10)

The guilty it is said are always afraid. The men and women who suspect that they will be facing charges from ICC have began hiring lawyers and cutting plea-bargains with ICC.  It is instructive to note that no one has been mentioned by Ocampo but these men and women have been running scared and trying to save themselves by any means possible.

Ocampo said that he will have suspects arraigned in court by December 2010 and it appears as though he is intent on keeping his word and the ICC train to Hague is unstoppable. The government through its Justice and Constitution Minister, Mutula Kilonzo has been engaging in doublespeak but this appears to me as the desperate measures of a dying horse. The ICC is a reality that cannot be wished away.

The common refrain we hear when a political big shot is caught committing wrong of ‘our tribe is being targeted’ has started but that is definitely a sideshow. President Kibaki in his wisdom appointed members of one community into ALL the security bodies and thus when these security bodies are investigated the men and women who lead them are placed under investigation and this cannot be said to be the targeting of a particular community.

I stated here that the ICC experiment will be a risky experiment and the events of the past week have sadly proven me right. The ethnic tension has suddenly risen; politicians are already making quite inflammatory statements and constitutional reforms have been put on the back seat.

All these negative effects and the ICC cases have not even started. Imagine what will happen when ICC names the suspects? Who will offer sobriety and a constant reminder that Kenya is greater than individuals or tribe? Is the country stable enough to go through these trials of former/current leaders? Is the church or civil society or business circles able to fill the vacuum which will occur when the political/governance leadership base is shaken by the trials?

I have no ready answers but I insist that we need to start thinking about the repercussions of the International Criminal Court handling Kenya’s case BEFORE it is too late and reason becomes replaced with emotions.




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