The International Criminal Court (ICC) started a series of hearings today for the “Ocampo Six”--the Kenyan political figures indicted on several counts of crimes against humanity relating to the country’s 2007-2008 post-election violence that killed over one thousand people and displaced over half a million. The hearings at The Hague will determine whether full-fledged trials will begin for the six indicted Kenyans, and I’ve written previously about the investigations, not least because of the apparent attempts to obstruct them. Yesterday, the ICC denied a formal appeal to suspend the trials.
Charlie Warren, a former African program intern and now interdepartmental program associate at CFR, has a new piece out today in which he discusses some of the issues facing the ICC and its prosecutor. “The International Criminal Court and Kenya: Ocampo’s Six an Important Hurdle for ICC” is published on African Arguments, part of a larger project from the Royal African Society (UK) and the Social Science Research Council.
The Kenyan hearings will last for the next few weeks and will attract a great deal of local as well as international coverage. Given the Court’s uneasy relationship with the continent--its current prosecutions are only of African political figures--and the spate of poll violence in Ivory Coast, the ICC faces an important question: can its prosecutions help to reduce future bouts of electoral conflict across Africa? I think the answer is ‘yes,’ but the Kenyan hearings provide a unique opportunity for the Court and its prosecutor to persuade the international community of that larger case.
Read Charlie’s article here.