Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Kenyan politicians to blame for ICC trials, Kofi Annan says

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Kenya's political establishment has itself to blame for the spectacle of the nation's leaders being tried at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan suggested on Monday.
"The record is clear and there should be no doubt," Mr Annan wrote in The New York Times. "It was the Kenyan government’s own failure to provide justice to the victims and their survivors that paved the way to the ICC, a court of last resort."
Mr Annan, who helped negotiate an end to the post-election violence in 2008, urged Kenyans to continue to demonstrate "courage" by supporting the ICC's intervention.
"These trials also do not reflect the court’s unfair targeting of Africa, as has been alleged," he wrote in the US's most influential newspaper. "Instead, they are the first steps toward a sustainable peace that Kenyans want, deeply, and can only be assured of if their leaders are not above the law."
Mr Annan recounted in his commentary the terms of the agreement he brokered in his role as chairman of the African Union Panel of Eminent African Personalities.
He noted that the Waki Commission, formed to investigate responsibility for the violence, concluded that the killings and destruction were "not just spontaneous, but, in at least some areas, a result of planning and organisation, often with the involvement of politicians and businessmen."
"This was not surprising," Mr Annan added. "Politicians hungry for power have long exploited Kenya’s ethnic divisions with impunity." He further cites "decades of the use of violence for political ends by Kenya’s political elite."
The Waki Commission foresaw that "Kenya’s entrenched political interests might undermine justice," he continues, so it was agreed that in the event of inaction on the national level, the matter would be turned over to the ICC.
"Kenya’s president, Prime Minister and parliament agreed to these terms," Mr Annan pointed out.
"I have continued to follow Kenya’s progress," he wrote, "and there is no question that impunity remains one of the greatest sources of underlying tensions. If it is not checked, there may yet be future generations of victims in Kenya."

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