Disasters & Conflicts: Kenya. Political conflict, 2008-current
Can you bring a president to trial outside his own country for crimes he committed before he became president?
Kenya. Political conflict, 2008-current
Type of conflict: Political conflict
Conflict: Eruption of violence after the results of the 2008 elections are not believed
Parties involved: Various ethnic groups (Kikuyu, Luhya, Luo, Kalenjin and others) and an elite that gives itself preferential treatment
Estimated number of victims: 1,500 deaths, 600,000 refugeesn
All preparations are made, and the United Nations spend millions of dollars to ensure that the elections in Kenya in late December 2007 run smoothly. But three days later, when the results are announced, it all seems in vain. Accusations of voting irregularities cause subdued tensions to suddenly erupt as various ethnic groups attack one another. It later turns out that people close to the presidential candidates incited their own ethnic groups to engage in violence. It takes two months of negotiations before peace is restored. The two most important candidates decide to form a coalition government, and each of them keeps his own ethnic group under control. That succeeds with constant pressure from other countries.
Can you bring a president to trial outside his own country for crimes he committed before he became president? The United Nations wants Kenya to bring to justice those accused of inciting the atrocious crimes in early 2008, but Kenya puts off taking a decision. The International Court of Justice in The Hague then starts a process. The court was set up to prosecute people accused of atrocities who are not, or cannot be, brought to justice in their own country. Three suspects are charged, and one of them is the man who in 2013 was democratically elected as president of Kenya: Uhuru Kenyatta. Wealthy countries do not know how to deal with the situation. Simply continue to conduct business with Kenya and its president? Or treat him as a criminal?