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Why ICC cases against Uhuru, Ruto should not be terminated

By By Jacktone S. Ambuka | May 10th 2013

 By Jacktone S. Ambuka

The Kenyan government has petitioned United Nation Security Council for “immediate termination” of all cases at The Hague based International Criminal Court (ICC).

 Early last year, the court indicted Kenyan president Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, his Deputy Mr William Ruto and a journalist Mr Joshua Arap Sang’ for crimes against humanity.

Interestingly, Deputy President Ruto has disassociated himself from the government’s plan to terminate cases of crimes against humanity.  

Which begs three questions, was it President Uhuru’s plan? Is the right hand doing things in secrecy while excluding the left hand? On whose behalf did Mr. Macharia file the petition? Time will tell.  

However, while speaking on behalf of Ruto, Lawyer Karim Khan asserted: “I have spoken to my client, His Excellency the Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya, Mr William Ruto, and I can confirm and he has made clear that he was not consulted on anything to do with New York. A letter being circulated is not a government policy.”

Yet, in the said letter to the UN which sounded condescending yet lacking diplomatic language, Kenyan permanent representative to the UN headquarters in New York, Mr. Kamau Macharia raised a sensational alarm.

He warned that if Mr. Uhuru and Mr. Ruto will be arraigned before the ICC judges to answer to charges of crimes against humanity, “violence could break out in Kenya that would affect stability in the entire region.”

What a sensational claim and false alarm? Someone should to tell Mr. Kamau Macharia that time is out for the war mongers and those who spread rumors of war and violence. In the first place, justice is never dependent upon peace.

To the contrary, peace is the product of justice. Peace that abounds where injustice flourishes is only but cosmetic peace that will eventually dissipate. And yes, there can never be peace without justice of sort.

If retributive justice that embraces punishment for crimes committed is unfathomable to our Kenya society, then, we should try restorative justice-the South African model of justice which was hinged on the idea of public profession of truth, confession of sins committed, forgiveness and reconciliation.

In one way or another, we must face our fears and our past so that we can shape our future with hope. 

The popular cliché of “moving on” without addressing the past is unsustainable and will lead us into damnation.

In my opinion, Mr. Uhuru and Mr. Ruto should be bold enough and face ICC judges so that justice can be served for the duo and for the victims of the post-election violence. Both Mr. Uhuru, Mr. Ruto have consistently professed innocence.

As a matter of principle, we have to believe their confession and accord them benefit of the doubt. But due process of the ICC cases which include appearing before the court of law to be tried for crimes which they have been accused of should run to its logical conclusion and must not be tempered with.

Moreover, President Uhuru and Ruto have claimed that charges against them were politically motivated, lack sufficient evidence, investigation was incoherent and witnesses were coached. That sounds like a crumbling case.  If indeed their assertion is anything to go by, then shouldn’t they be bold enough to face ICC judges without fear and rebut every single evidence against them with certainty of vindication?  

Your guess is as good as mine. Where there is smoke, there is fire. However, we cannot afford to burry our heads in the sand and pretend that justice isn’t being violated. My appeal to the United Nation is that give the accused and the victims of the post-election violence a chance to be heard. Discontinuation of ICC cases against the two will be discontinuation of justice.

Like President Uhuru and his deputy Ruto, there are so many Kenyans facing crimes in the courts of law both home and abroad. Should all the court cases facing Kenyans be discontinued? The answer is no. Every accused person has a constitutional right to be heard. Let every Kenyan accused of crimes carry his or her own cross.

If indeed they are innocent, justice system will acquit them in the fullness of time. Otherwise petitioning UN to terminate ICC cases based on such frivolous reason is in essence admission of guilt.

-The writer is a Kenyan residing at State College Pennsylvania, USA. 

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