Regina Njogu and Prof Peter Mwangi Kagwanja, as well as President Uhuru’s defence team have gone out of their way to try and ‘water down’ the public (notice I have deliberately not used ‘political’) ramifications in the wake of ICC decision to release a redacted version of the pre-trial brief – the evidence which the ICC prosecutor at the beginning of these cases relied on to successfully indict Uhuru and five other Kenyans..
These two officials, and Uhuru’s defence team, responded to the 73-paged dossier by the prosecutor in the same fashion that they have done ever since this case started.
First the deflect attention by waxing legal jamborees.
While Njogu claims the release of the pre-trial evidence is akin to prosecuting Uhuru in public, and not in court, the nature of the Kenyan experience with ICC cases points to a different scenario.
An observation on the ICC case in Kenya – which is often referred to as ‘Kenyan situation’ – reveals a consistent trial in public of the court by these same characters accusing the court. What, from the accused and their acolytes, have we not heard of the International Criminal Court? What, including on the person of the Prosecutor, has supporters and these ‘experts on ICC’ who remain the dominant voices on local media, has Kenyans not been told?
The two state ‘actors’, and Uhuru’s defence team, would want us believe that the ICC is just like any other court where criminals take plea and are released on bail/bond terms.
In Kenya for instances, the kind of extreme offences Uhuru was charged with, hard it been a local judicial process, would have seen him being held in a remand prison under 24 hour surveillance until he is jailed. However, the ICC, in its rules, didn’t demand of Uhuru the same legal conditions put on local criminals of rape, mass murder, mass displacement of populations and such other barbaric offences.
It is in the rules of the ICC that the victims deserve to know the nature of evidence the ICC prosecutor had on the perpetrators. In fact, it is not the office of the Prosecutor who successfully applied for the release of the documents as both Njogu and Kagwanja would want their readers to believe – it is the victims lawyer who made the successful application.
Is the public ‘ mostly unsophisticated’ as Njogu would want us to believe? Nay, the Kenyan public has for years immersed themselves in the ICC cases. The evidence on Uhuru, including the Mungiki link, has its roots on local mechanism that the country put in place to sort of the 2007/08 post-election violence.
After peace had been restored, a commission of inquiry headed by a respected judge and citizen of Kenya – justice Philip Waki – did a thorough investigation on the violence and came up with names of those who held the highest responsibility for the violence. Kenya was to try these people locally, but the same accused persons ganged up to defeat a local mechanism, claiming it was fraught with political manipulation.
This background, which has now been completely removed from any discourse on ICC, remains the top ground for insisting that Uhuru evidence be released to the public. The country outlived the violence, however, the country, for truth and reconciliation, deserve to know who sponsored, financed and facilitated the horrors of that violence.
For Mwangi Kagwanja, to merely claim that court is ‘cruel’ to Uhuru, then dismiss all the evidence it is releasing now, but ironically attempt to connect CORD leader Raila Odinga based on the same evidence you claim are nothing but hot air, only confirms the usual double-speak.