NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – VICTIMS of the 2007/08 post-violence elections in Kenya can still seek justice even if the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) dropping charges against Deputy President William Ruto and radio presenter Joshua Arap Sang.
ICC’s Trial Chamber had declared the charges of crimes against humanity against the duo as vacated.
However, it held that the charges were dropped “without prejudice to the Prosecutor’s right to re-prosecute the case in the future.”
The decision may also be the subject of an appeal by the Office of the Prosecutor.
“This decision could be seen as a major setback by thousands of victims who have waited so long for justice,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.
“However, this is not the end of the road for the victims. In fact, victims should be able to seek justice for these crimes in the future as the accused have not been acquitted, and can be re-prosecuted for these charges either by the ICC or domestically,” added Kagari.
Amnesty International therefore called for renewed efforts to ensure that those accused of crimes under international law during the post-election violence are brought to justice, including through fair trials in Kenya’s national courts.
It also welcomed the recognition by Judge Oboe Esoji of the role that witness interference played in the case and calls for all responsible to be held accountable.
This is the first time the ICC has decided to vacate charges following the presentation of the Prosecution’s case, but it is not the first time cases have been dropped amid allegations of witness interference and non-cooperation by the state.
Cases against four others charged with crimes against humanity in relation to the post-election violence in Kenya, including President Uhuru Kenyatta, did not reach the trial stage.
The riots and clashes that followed Mwai Kibaki’s hurried inauguration as President led to more than 1 200 deaths and displaced more than 350 000 people from their homes.
– CAJ News