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ICC’s Pre-trial Chamber endorses indictments of Kenyan politicians

ICC’s Pre-trial Chamber endorses indictments of Kenyan politicians

A message to Sierra Leonean politicians:The Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL) today welcomed the January 23 decision of the pre-trial chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to approve the indictments of four Kenyans for their alleged role in the post December 2007 election violence in Kenya. The Kenyan politicians, William Ruto, Joshua Sang, Francis Muthaura, and Uhuru Kenyatta face various charges in two separate cases relating to crimes against humanity of murder, deportation or forcible transfer, rape, other inhumane acts, and persecution. The 2008 post-election violence in Kenya, which involved ruling party supporters and the police against opposition supporters, claimed at least 1,000 lives and displaced over 600,000 people from their homes.

“The ruling represents a significant step in Africa’s effort to provide justice for victims of election-related violence. It is truly hoped that ICC’s interventions in Kenya and Ivory Coast would send a strong message to African politicians, including those in Sierra Leone, that impunity for politically-motivated crimes will no longer be tolerated by the international criminal justice system,” said CARL’s Executive Director Ibrahim Tommy.

As Sierra Leone prepares to conduct general elections later this year, CARL wishes to remind the Sierra Leone Government of its responsibility under national and international laws to provide a safe and secure environment for all to freely express their will without fear of intimidation or violence. For this reason, the government bears the primary responsibility to bring to justice anyone, regardless of their political affiliation or status, believed to be responsible for instigating or perpetrating violence.

“Politicians from all sides of the divide must also bear in mind that they will be individually held responsible for their role in incidents of violence, and should not expect any less when the long arm of the law ultimately reaches out for them,” Ibrahim Tommy added.

Since 2008, there has been a wave of politically-motivated crimes across the country, and it is regrettable that only a handful of indictments have been filed in relation to these violations. Even so, the delays that have characterized these trials are such that members of the public are beginning to lose faith in the process. This is certainly unhelpful in terms of efforts at promoting rule of law in the country. As the country prepares for the November 17 elections, the Sierra Leone Government must take the required steps to strengthen public confidence in the law enforcement and justice mechanisms.

Ibrahim Tommy,  Executive Director, CARL

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