Inside Story
Can the ICC deliver justice to Kenyans?
As the court charges officials over the 2007 election violence, we ask if this signals the end of a culture of impunity.
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2012 14:11

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has confirmed that it will bring to trial four of six Kenyan officials accused of directing the violence that followed the disputed 2007 elections.

"The credit cannot and should not go to the so-called ICC. What has happened is homegrown, the realisation of how badly we had behaved is paramount in the [Kenyan] people's minds .... There is no way Kenyan people, including all the victims, some of whom are not even represented in the current process, will ever get any remedy or even justice by the prosecution of merely four people."

- Kiriro Wa Ngugi, a Kenyan affairs analyst

The court said there was sufficient evidence to put the four men on trial for their roles in the country’s bloody post-election violence, which served to further underline the country's deep ethnic divisions.

The violence began when clashes broke out between supporters of two rival presidential candidates, Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki. More than 1,200 people were killed and about 600,000 were forced to flee their homes.

Uhuru Kenyatta, the deputy prime minister and son of Kenya's first president, is among those who have been indicted by the ICC.

Both sides denied the charges and argued that there is no evidence connecting them to these crimes.

Kibaki was eventually declared the winner of the election, and is serving his second term as president, while Odinga is the current prime minister.

Initially, six Kenyans were under investigation for organising the violence that followed the 2007 elections. Below are the details of who they are and the charges against them.

  1. William Ruto – one of the top opposition leaders, a former minister and presidential hopeful. The prosecution considers Ruto to be one of the main planners of crimes committed against the supporters of President Mwai Kibaki's Party of National Unity (PNU)
  2. Henry Kosgey - the Chairman of Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement. He has been accused of planning and organising crimes against PNU supporters but was acquitted on Monday due to lack of evidence
  3. Joshua Arap Saang - a broadcaster accused of planning attacks, along with Kosgey and Ruto, as well as of whipping up ethnic hatred on the airwaves
  4. Uhuru Kenyatta – The deputy prime minister and finance minister. He is the son of Jomo Kenyatta, modern Kenya's founding father
  5. Francis Muthaura - also from the government side, is head of the country's civil service
  6. Hussein Ali - a former police chief, charges against him were dismissed due to insufficient evidence

On this episode of Inside Story we ask: Will the ICC trials put an end to decades of impunity in Kenya for political violence? And will winners emerge from this ICC process?

To discuss this we are joined by: Kiriro Wa Ngugi, a Kenyan affairs analyst; William Schabas, a professor of law at Middlesex University; and Mohammed Adow, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Nairobi.


  • Four people will go on trial for election violence in Kenya
  • The ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo launched his investigation in 2010
  • Kenya's government has been asking for the court case to be dropped
  • Suspects are accused of crimes against humanity - rape, murder and persecution are among the charges against the four
  • More than 1,200 people were killed in election violence
  • About 600,000 people were forced to flee their homes
  • Supporters of rival presidential candidates were involved in the violence
  • Suspects appeared in the Hague in 2011 and denied the accusations
  • The ICC has ruled that Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto should face trial
  • Presidential elections will be held in Kenya this year
  • Uhuru Kenyatta is hoping to stand in the next presidential poll
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