Throughout his presidential campaign the recently elected President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta constantly repeated the phrase “The ICC is a personal matter.” Upon being elected the melody of his song has changed drastically. This is because ever since he won the election he has tried everything to get out of the trial, including holding the country ransom. Seeing how he has roughly two more months until the commencement of his trial, it is anyone’s guess what he’ll do next. I say this on the back of the recent rejection -by the judges at the ICC- of an application made by the defense to try and stay the cases.
At the recent AU Summit which the African heads of State focused on the acts of the ICC on the continent. In particular the Kenyan cases, they accused the international court of being “racist and neo-colonialist.” I agree! Completely! When the matter was put to a vote at the security council the African side lost with Guatemala, Argentina, United States, Britain, France, Australia, France and Luxembourg choosing to abstain. This is a diplomatic way of saying we are looking the other way. All cases currently being tried at the court are African. Does no one find this disrespectful? The creators of the court claim that it is not political, but they are the ones who decide who gets tried and who doesn’t. How can it be anything but political?
Throughout the song that the President of Kenya and his supporters have been singing about the Kenyan cases, NO ONE is saying anything about the victims of the crimes that these leaders are being accused of. What about them? Why shouldn’t they be allowed to seek justice? After all, while most of the country and the politicians who were squabbling for power have moved on they still live in the internally displaced people camps. Without any answers, without any justice. So they will be given land by the government, but that is not justice. They were driven from their homes, their livelihoods were taken away from them – giving them a shiny piece of land is not going to bring them justice.
I understand the plight of the African leaders in demanding for their sovereignty. But they should at least make it seem like they care, even a bit for the people that lost their lives, their homes, their livelihoods, their land and I don’t even want to begin to speak of those who were raped during the post election violence of 2007/2008.
Sovereignty is the right of every country, but so is justice for every citizen. It’s really that black and white.