Friday 10th October 2014: Have We Lost The Quest For Justice For Post-Election Violence Victims?

  1. How did the victims of the PEV end up ‘on their own’?
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How did the victims of the PEV end up ‘on their own’ #Equalityfriday

  1. How can we give more significance to the words of our anthem ‘justice be our shield and defender’?
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How can we give more significance to the words of our anthem ‘justice be our shield and defender’? #EqualityFriday

  1. Is there hope for a just and fair Kenyan society?
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Is there hope for a just and fair Kenyan society? #Equalityfriday

  1. What would justice for the victims of PEV look like?
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What would justice for the victims of PEV look like? #EqualityFriday

Constitutional Provisions

  1. Art. 27 (Equality and Freedom from Discrimination)

Outline of Key Facts

  1. A total of 1133 Kenyans lost their lives following the post-electionviolence in 2007/2008.  774 of these victims were from the Rift Valley. In addition, at least 600,000 Kenyans are said to have been displaced as a result of the violence.
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·       1133 Kenyans lost their lives in the post-election violence (PEV) of 2007/2008.774 of these were from the Rift Valley. #EqualityFriday

·       at least 600,000 Kenyans are said to have been displaced as a result of the violence. #EqualityFriday

  1. Moreover, thousands of girls and women experienced sexual violence in the form of individual and gang rapes, as well as forced circumcision for both women and men. Although 900 cases of rape were reported to The Commission of the Inquiry into the Post-Election Violence (CIPEV), also known as the Waki Commission, a study by Amnesty indicates that as many as 40,000 cases went unreported. The perpetrators of sexual violence included ordinary citizens, gangs and security forces.
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·       Thousands of girls & women were sexually assaulted in individual/gangrape cases + forced circumcision for both women & men. #EqualityFriday

·       The Waki inquiry got reports of 900 cases of rape but an Amnesty report indicates 40,000 cases went unreported @amnesty254 #Equalityfriday

·       The perpetrators of sexual violence included ordinary citizens, gangs and security forces. #EqualityFriday

 

  1. After the release of the Waki Commission report, Kenyan MPs opted for ICC rather than a local tribunal. Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto were among those have been charged with crimes against humanity including murder, deportation, forcible transfer, rape, persecution and other inhumane acts during the PEV. The phrase “Don’t be vague, let’s go to The Hague” became popular and caught on with the Kenyan population as well as victims of PEV.

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·       Rather than set up local tribunals to address the injustices Kenyan MPs opted for the ICC to act on the Waki report. #Equalityfriday

·       Uhuru Kenyatta & William Ruto were among those charged with crimes against humanity including murder, deportation & rape #EqualityFriday

·       The phrase “Don’t be vague, let’s go to The Hague” became popular & caught on with Kenyans as well as the victims of PEV. #EqualityFriday

  1. This sharply contrasts the image of KenyanMPs and supporters in the colours of the national flag singing and dancing in support of President Uhuru Kenyatta as he attended a status conference at the ICC on 8th October. A supporter’s banner read “hands off our prez, he is innocent”   http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/08/kenya-uhuru-kenyatta-head-of-state-icc-hague?CMP=twt_gu
  2. As MPs and other Kenyans defend the innocence of the president, six years down the line, victims of the PEV are still awaiting justice as their loss and pain lingers. Many fear that they will die before justice is served, and are desperate for assistance to help them recover from injuries sustained and property and livelihoods lost as a result of the PEV.  (Amnesty 2014).  Some are still IDPs and refugees in Uganda, and those that have been compensated are the minority rather than majority:
  1. 70 year old Mzee Joseph MwangiMacharia (Karobe) watched as seven members of his family were hacked to death – his wife, three sons (aged 36, 33 and 23), one daughter (aged 25), a grandson (aged 6) and a granddaughter (aged 6) (Waki Report).
  2. Audi’s son was shot in Kibera during PEV. While she spent months attending to her son who was regularly hospitalised, the punishment for the policeman who shot him was transfer to another station.  Her husband on the other hand lost all his business stock and the family was forced to flee. http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-192956/what-next-victims-2007-post-election-violence.
  3. “When I was given residence at the church, my children lost direction. I could not start a business because we had to spend all the money I received from my eldest son on food. My younger children started drinking and taking drugs. One of my children, who was not yet 20, became a robber and was recently killed by policemen,” she recounts tearfully. –Jane (Mathare North) (ibid).
  1. Lack of political will has greatly contributed to lack of justice. Furthermore, while the ICC remains the only hope for justice for victims of the violence, it has been painted as racist resulting in Kenyan MPS voting to pull out of the Rome Statute. The African union has also accused the court of being overly focussed on Africa. The ICC on the other hand has accused the Kenyan government of failing to cooperate, and the prosecution has been hampered by insufficient evidence, in addition to alleged witness intimidation and coaching.
  2. Victims of the PEV seem to be forgotten as the focus has shifted to the president and his deputy facing trials at the ICC.  As the media mostly focussed on the two, churches held prayers in their support, and operations of the National Assembly came to a halt as atleast 100 MPs accompanied Uhuru Kenyatta for his status conference hearings in The Hague.  Four committees that were scheduled to meet could not raise quorum as their members travelled to The Hague to offer moral support to the president.  The committees scheduled to meet included Agriculture, finance, transport and budget and appropriations. Little attention is paid to the situation of the victims and the quest for justice among Kenyans has slowly gone quiet.
  3. Beyond trying those accused of the violence, there is lack of political will to address the root causes of PEV, such as the institutionalisation of political violence, growing power and personalisation of power around the presidency and perceptions and experiences of historical marginalisation among some communities, particularly on issues related to land as outlined by Waki Commission Report.
  4. KPTJ has issued the following statement on the process: 
  1. The trial of Uhuru Kenyatta should be temporarily adjourned to enable the Assembly of State Parties (ASP) to act  on the non-­cooperation  decision;
  2. The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) should immediately launch investigations into all allegations of obstruction of justice, witness tampering and other offences against  the administration of justice with a view to prosecuting those who may be implicated;
  3. To uphold the right of the victims to justice and the right of the accused to trial without undue delay, such temporary adjournment should be time-­bound by said ASP actions on non-­ cooperation and outcome of OTP investigations of obstruction of justice.
  1. In the words of our national anthem, may “justice be our shield and defender”; “Hakiiwengaonamlinzi”.

Key Resources:

  1. Waki Commission report http://www.kenyalaw.org/Downloads/Reports/Commission_of_Inquiry_into_Post_Election_Violence.pdf
  2. KPTJ statement http://kptj.africog.org/kptj-statement-on-the-icc-status-conference/
  3. Amnesty report  http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR32/001/2014/en
  4. Is the International Crimes Division of the High Court of Kenya a real option for justice? http://kptj.africog.org/a-real-option-for-justice-the-international-crimes-division-of-the-high-court-of-kenya/

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