Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, never one to back out of issuing commentary on important issues, has accused the International Criminal Court (ICC) of mishandling the cases that they had against Kenya’s leaders- Kenyatta and Ruto.
Mr Kofi Annan was speaking with the Financial Times (FT) and he told them that President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto should not have remained free during their trials.
The charges against the two have already been dropped, but in both cases, there were numerous allegations of witness intimidation.
The cases were related to the violence that arose after the elections in 2007 and both Kenyatta and Ruto had been put under investigation and were facing charges of crimes against humanity.
In the violence, over 1,500 people were killed and 600,00 forced from their homes as ethnic clashes spread around the country and most of the people left behind, have to continually live with the possibility that justice will never be served.
Kenyatta and Ruto who denied the charges had accused the ICC of targeting African leaders and after William Ruto’s case was thrown out, President Uhuru Kenyatta pledged that no Kenyan will ever be tried by the ICC again. The country is therefore making moves to withdraw from the ICC.
Mr Kofi Annan had been appointed by the African Union to mediate Kenya’s post-election crisis of 2007 – 2008 and he is accusing the Kenyan government of using state resources to undermine the ICC;
“The president and vice-president were the ones in the dock and so they put lots of efforts and resources into fighting the case,”
He further told the FT that Africans should seek justice abroad if they could not get it domestically, while rejecting the accusations that the ICC was biased against Africa, saying:
“Slobodan Milosevic and others convicted of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia had been tried in The Hague before the ICC was established.”
This is distinctly contrary to the view carried by the African Union which has been critical of the ICC with member states on the continent threatening to withdraw from the court.
On a different tone, Mr Kofi Annan praised the recent conviction of Hissene Habre, the former president of Chad, who was tried in an African Union-backed court in Senegal.