Kenya – The International Criminal Court (ICC) should act wisely regarding Kenyatta and Ruto

from East & South..

May 9, 2013


Kenya’s recent general election was remarkably peaceful when comparing to the previous one – resulted in the death of around 1200 Kenyans. Isolated inter-communal clashes were indeed reported, but nothing comparable to 2007. In sum, this shows that consent can be achieved if social order is promoted by the political establishment, if it is fomented by the civil society and if it is willingly assimilated by the populace.

The aftermath of the 2007 elections led the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the causes of the violence that occurred. According to its findings, both Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto – recently elected President and Deputy president, respectively – were found guilty for playing a leading role in mobilizing and inciting the youths into violence. Before, during and after the elections, the ICC has been summoning both Kenyatta and Ruto to face trial, which they have repeatedely denied. The ICC has indeed humanely realized that such crimes should not go unpunished.

However, what the ICC does not realize is that the same accused political leaders did also play a major role in guaranteeing that the situation would not unravel into 2007 levels. What the ICC does not realize is that – in its own ideal vision – in the speculative case of Kenyatta and Ruto being prosecuted and arrested, the country will certainly fall into chaos. And if that happens, the ICC will be openly destabilizing the African Continent and promoting an attractive environment for an element which is expanding across the Horn of Africa – religious militancy. This is something which does not serve the interests of sub-Saharan Africa nor the World in general.

It is not only Africa and the World who can prove to be a major obstacle for the ICC. Kenyans themselves would not accept seeing their (fairly) elected leader being arrested by a foreign actor. In the same way, Kenyans themselves would not accept seeing the son of the person who is considered Kenya’s founding father being taken removed from power.

The ICC does not seem to understand the social and political dynamics that constitute the stability of one of the most developed (in both social and economic terms) countries in the African continent, and its implications for the regional geopolitics (Horn of Africa). There is a lesson which the ICC should learn, being it that sometimes one is given only two options to choose from: the bad and the even worst option. Which will one choose? Well, it is a matter of thinking wisely.

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