Kenya joins Uganda, the Central African Republic, DRC and Sudan and becomes the fifth country in which the International Criminal Court has an on going investigation. This happened yesterday in the Hague where ICC judges gave the prosecutor the go-ahead to formally commence an investigation into crimes against humanity committed in the wake of the disptuted 2007 national elections.
More than 1,000 people killed in the violence, which manifested itself in ethnic clashes between supporters of President Mwai Kibaki and challenger Raila Odinga. Conside this CNN report at the time:
In a particularly disturbing incident, a mob appears to have burned a church filled with Kenyans seeking refuge from the violence. The Red Cross told The Associated Press that at least 50 were burned to death at the church, some of them children. As many as 200 people were at the church, about 185 miles northwest of Nairobi, KTN reporter Tony Biwott told CNN. Biwott said he counted at least 15 charred bodies, including children, in the burned church and an adjacent field. “I’m sure there were more than 15 but I couldn’t count the ones who were ashes,” he said in a phone interview.
The prosecutor needs to make the case that this violence was not random–rather, that it was directed by political leaders. To that end, the prosecutor has compiled a list of twenty people who “utilized their personal, government, business and tribal network to commit the crimes.” At a press conference today, the prosecutor said that an investigation would be completed by the end of the year. So far, it seems, ordinary Kenyans are very welcoming of the ICC. Here’s hoping that Kenyan officials will also be open to this intervention when the prosecutor visits Nairobi next month to begin the investigation.