[JURIST] The Kenyan government announced Wednesday that they will challenge the admissibility of cases [press release] relating to the 2007-2008 post-election violence [JURIST news archive] in the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website], as well as the jurisdiction of the court. The ICC on Tuesday issued summons [JURIST report] for six Kenyans accused of inciting the violence, including current Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and several Ministry heads. All six are believed to have fomented violence, rape and destruction of property during the 30 days of violence. A government spokesperson stated the ICC summons are an attempt to signal that Kenya is a failed state [Bloomberg report]. He also noted that the government’s challenge of the ICC’s jurisdiction is a way to show the country’s progress. The suspects have been summoned to appear before the ICC on April 7 for an initial appearance. This would be followed by a confirmation of charges hearing, after which the court would then need to decide whether the suspects should stand trial.
Members of the Kenyan government have previously rejected the ICC’s authority to try cases relating to the post-election violence. In December, the Kenyan Parliament [official website] approved a motion to withdraw [JURIST report] the country from the ICC. The motion was approved after ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] identified the six suspects targeted by the ICC and rejected the notion [JURIST reports] that threats of violence would delay the prosecution. In November, the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights, which implicated former Cabinet minster William Ruto of interfering with the ICC investigation, denied accusations that it had bribed witnesses [JURIST report]. Moreno-Campo had also said that the court will not use testimony [JURIST report] from three Kenyan witnesses who claim they were bribed to provide false evidence against a high-ranking government official. In September, Kenyan businessman Joseph Gathungu filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality [JURIST report] of the ICC investigation into the post-election violence. Violence following the election left more than 1,100 people dead, 3,500 injured and up to 600,000 forcibly displaced. In addition, there were hundreds of rapes and more than 100,000 different properties were destroyed in Kenya.