Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in Landmark Court Hearing on Charges of Crimes Against Humanity

Ruth MacLean, VICE News, October 9, 2014

Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta had hardly arrived in The Hague on Wedneday before he was flying out again, not a word spoken in the court where he is accused of crimes against humanity.

Nevertheless, the very fact that he was present, two years after being charged with murder, rape and persecution as an alleged “indirect co-perpetrator” of ethnic-based violence after the 2007 Kenyan elections, was a significant step for thousands in the country who still live with the scars of that conflict.

Kenyatta, the first incumbent head of state to face the International Criminal Court, is accused of orchestrating ethnic violence that killed 1,200 people and forced 600,000 to flee their homes.

Prosecutors are struggling to obtain the evidence necessary for a trial, however, and last month the chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda had to ask for it to be postponed. On Thursday, in the face of a continuing dearth of evidence, the court must decide whether to set a trial date, postpone the trial, or stop proceedings altogether.

Before leaving Kenya, Kenyatta had temporarily handed over the presidency to his deputy, William Ruto, to avoid–technically–being the first sitting president to appear before the court. He arrived in The Hague with his wife and a clutch of fellow politicians, and was greeted by cheering Kenyans outside the court.

He had said the charges, which he described as part of a continuing “century of exploitation and domination,” related to a time before he took power, and so he wanted to appear before the court as an ordinary citizen.

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However, Ruto–who also faces ICC charges–only enjoyed a one-day hiatus in power. A red carpet, a brass band, a guard of honor and traditional dancers were on hand on Thursday to welcome the president back.

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Kenyatta’s lawyers asked the ICC judges to drop the proceedings on Wednesday, saying that the prosecution’s case has collapsed.

“The case has failed. It has failed in a way that there’s no prospect to go further,” Kenyatta’s lawyer, Steven Kay, said. “It would be an affront to common sense to say that we are not entitled to an acquittal. . . . If the prosecutor does not intervene, you must act to terminate.”

The prosecution complains that Kenya is refusing to hand over key documents, which they say contain evidence of Kenyatta’s involvement in post-election violence in 2007 and 2008, when he was supporting the then president Mwai Kibaki.

When his rival Raila Odinga accused Kibaki and his party of fraud, political riots that pitted the Kikuyu tribe against other ethnic groups rocked the country.

At two meetings–one in Nairobi’s State House and one in the Nairobi Club–Kenyatta is accused of ordering the Mungiki sect of his tribe and the largest ethnic group in Kenya, the Kikuyu, to launch revenge attacks on members of the Luo, Luhya and Kalenjin tribes, among others. According to the ICC, the attacks were intended to keep the ruling Party for International Unity in power–and, in exchange for carrying them out, he promised to protect the Mungiki’s interests and put a stop to their repression.

Kenyatta is refusing to hand over his financial records from the time of the crisis. Over the years witnesses have disappeared, withdrawn from proceedings, refusing to testify, or changed their testimony. Although witnesses are supposedly anonymous, their identities are given to the defence lawyers, and one who testified against Ruto last month had her identity revealed by the Kenyan media.

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If he had not gone, Kenyatta ran the risk of an Interpol warrant being put out for his arrest, and of economic sanctions being imposed on Kenya.

“We know where we are coming from, we know where we are now, we know where we are going. No-one will tell us where we are going and yes, we will decide for ourselves,” he told supporters in Swahili outside the court on Wednesday.

Kenyatta’s message was made in solidarity with leaders from almost the entire African continent.

African countries have condemned the ICC as racist, as they say it targets only Africans, while the 54-member African Union, with the exception of Botswana, opposes criminal proceedings against sitting presidents.

“African states parties should comply with African Union decisions on the ICC and continue to speak with one voice,” the AU said at a summit in Ethiopia in February.

In its 12 years, the court had made only three judgements, two guilty: Thomas Lubanga and Germain Katanga, both convicted of war crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Thirty others have been indicted by the court: many of them are fugitives, have died, or their cases remain, like Kenyatta’s, in the pre-trial stage.

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  • MekongDelta69

    “African countries have condemned the ICC as ‘racist.’

    That is beyond laughter. The ICC (like the UN), is so far left, it looks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

    • OS-Q

      Charging “RACISM!” against leftist morons is always an entertaining
      tactic. I remember when a Hmong named Chai Vang murdered a bunch of
      hunters here in WI and first thing that came up was that they had called
      him an ethnic slur, suddenly his massacre became morally grey to the
      media – it really opened my eyes on how Libs think how being a victim of
      racism justifies anything.

      • me

        Not anything, just White hate and White genocide. Racism=White.

        • OS-Q

          Agreed but nonwhites will often make each other suffer if it somehow gets back at whitey, even just symbolically. That’s why 100% black schools still do the busing that they were doing decades ago when judges wanted to drive white parents out of the cities.

  • Rhialto

    Precedents are being set for a world government. African national governments are still sovereign governments. If their political leaders stand trial before an international court, that means that the international court has legal supremacy over national governments. The next step is gaining the military/moral power to enforce this power on strong and stable countries.

    This is the technique that the Federal Judiciary used to gain control over America’s schools. First they deconstitutionalized segregation. After it had established that power, the next Judicial move was forced integration (forced busing) throughout the country.

    Incremental encroachment in gaining power is a standard Liberal technique.

    • propagandaoftruth

      Well someone has to run the place other than them if we’re going to make them White by making ourselves black.

      • me

        You mean, like this?

  • TruthBeTold

    Impugning the integrity of a black man is ‘racism’.

    Many more African leaders should be investigated. The only reason more aren’t is because any investigation would be considered ‘racist’.

    • Jesse_from_Sweden

      Actually, the truth is simpler.
      They even mention it in the article, and the article also makes clear why it is so.

      No incumbent leader has ever been convicted. And the reason is clear when you read the article and see that the prosecution essentially has to get their evidence from the very nation that the accused is in control of.

      And dictators have a tendency to stay in power (that’s sort of a definition of a dictator after all), so you can really only charge those that have been deposed, where the new winners will give the evidence to convict them (or fabricate evidence if needed).
      That’s the problem with running an investigation in a geographical area that the court doesn’t control.
      And why it’s so much easier to convict leaders like Saddam, Göring etc, after you invade and defeat them.

  • Sue

    Maybe he could get tried in Nuremberg? I heard “justice” was pretty rampant there.

  • LHathaway

    Isn’t Kenya one of the more stable nations in Africa right now? Not meant as insult to Africa – from chaos and struggle comes advancement and a new net-loss to us trade partner.

    One insult I do like to shamefully point out is that something like only 6 or 7 democratically elected leaders in all of African history have ever stepped down from power after losing an election. One might keep an open eye on 2016 in this country.

    • me

      Ha!

      • LHathaway

        Still waiting to see if you peaceably step down from power in 2016. . .

  • Stan D Mute

    Why the heck can we not just leave them alone? Let them continue their *very* different evolutionary path with zero contact from the civilized world? No, we must poke and prod and pretend they’re just like us and wring our hands every time they fail (which is every time we expect them to behave as civilized man). The amount of time and trouble wasted on advancing this radically different branch of the evolutionary tree could have had permanent bases on the moon and human exploration of Mars by now.

  • dd121

    Did this guy and Obama’s father play Poker together?

    • 1stworlder

      Strip poker no less.

      • IstvanIN

        Yuk.

      • dd121

        Thank God I wasn’t in the room.

  • Lord Sandwich

    There’s an African Union? What their currency, the Afro?

    • B.A_2014

      So he killed a few people, so what. I like a politician that is prepared to spill a bit of blood. At least he cared for his people that much he was prepared to kill his enemies (maybe he just wanted power, who knows.) Do you think George Bush would kill for Mr and Mrs apppe pie from Nebraska? I doubt it.

      • me

        I can remember one White person who killed the enemies of his people. It didn’t end well….

        • B.A_2014

          Our deputy first minister ( by ours I mean Ulsters) waged a war in which his orgainsation killed 1500 people and reduced this province’s commercial center’s to rubble and he’s an elected British MP. My family votes for the party ( even though they want to swamp us with non white immigration.)

    • me

      White charity and misplaced altruism. That, and a machete.

  • These are an advanced people with their tribal wars and warlords for presidents. What upstanding and enriching people. The earth benefits every day from the achievements of the African.

    • me

      Don’t forget their pyramids, made out of peanut butter and hair weaves.

  • R L Buds

    Crimes against Humanity in Africa? LOL that doesn’t even make sense.

    Unless they are refering to the genocide in S Africa.