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Introduction Speech: Launch of ICC Outreach Toolkit

July 13, 2012, The Stanley Hotel

Ndung’u Wainaina, ED, ICPC

It is with great pleasure that ICPC is honored to host you this morning for the launch of the Tool kit for outreach on ICC titled : Prosecuting Justice for Victims of Post Election Violence- Why the Hague Option. I welcome you all.

I want to express gratitude to Hon. Gitobu Imanyara for accepting our invitation. International Center for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) has a history with him. His record and desire to see justice for victims of post-election violence speaks for itself.  I recall he was our Guest Speaker at the first ever International Conference organized by ICPC on December 3, 2008 to discuss the Special Tribunal for Kenya. Thereafter we teamed up to work on the Tribunal Bill.

We all also know his selfless sacrifice for the sake of liberty, justice and democracy for this country. We salute.

ICPC is a public policy research, advocacy and Education institute.  Over-arching strategic goals: Larger Human Rights and freedoms; Democratic development and Human Security

Let make few remarks on ICPC’s journey on Advocacy for Criminal Accountability for PEV.

  1. This toolkit is about the journey towars holding perpetrators of massive human rights violations and serious crimes accountable and attempts to restore truth and justice to the legacy of abuse of the recent post-election violence.
  2. I fully dispute arguments that insist that political leaders should strive only to have skewed truth about the post-election violence and justice. This amounts to coercing Kenyans to accept political amnesty in exchange for illusionary peace. State has obligation it owes to the victims and to society.
  3. It is a grave mistake for the human rights movement to allow itself to be painted into a corner of silence. A genuine program of truth and justice is not only the right thing to do but is politically desirable because it goes a long way towards realizing the idea of a democratic state and rule of law.
  4. Accountability experiences inform the way we think about related but distinct areas: promotion of democracy, peace-making and peace-keeping. Making criminals accountable speaks volumes about the democracy we are trying to establish, and that preserving memory and settling human rights accounts can be part of the formula for a lasting peace, as opposed to a lull in the fighting.
  5. Accountability issues go beyond transitional period. Just see pursuit of justice in Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Latin America and Nazi.
  6. Post- election violence crimes violate the basic rights to life, liberty and physical integrity.
  7. The reason for heightened pursuit of accountability and rights of victims in relation to post-election violence is that human rights violations of this magnitude, when committed massively are ‘crimes against humanity.’
  8. In response to crimes against humanity, a state is obliged:  to investigate, prosecute and punish the perpetrators;  to disclose to the victims, their families, and society all that can be reliably established about those events; to offer the victims adequate reparations; and  to separate known perpetrators from law-enforcement bodies and positions of authority.
  9. From the point of view of victims who are  entitled to a specific duty from the state, those obligations consist of rights:  a right of the victim to see justice done;  a right to know the truth;  an entitlement to compensation and also to nonmonetary forms of restitution; and  a right to new, reorganized, and accountable institutions

As I conclude i must make the following observations

 

1)      Rule of law is critical to the preservation of rights of individuals and the protection of the interests of state.

2)      Justice restrains bloodshed, punishes guilt, defends possessions and keeps people safe from violence and tyranny. It is key to building sustainable peace, and deepening democracy.

3)      Kenya is still far more vulnerable today. We need to strengthen observance of laws and rules as the best means of preventing the flames from bursting forth in the first place, or of beating them down before they spread and cause irreparable damage.

4)      Kenya lacks political will to build peace based on justice and deter leaders from committing crimes.

5)      The presumption that leaders of are immune from prosecution has been eroded and the idea of sovereignty as a barricade against justice has been all but eradicated.

6)      Parting shot to leaders and their supporters: the world and individual country cannot have lasting peace without justice, accountability and reconciliation. Further it is empirically evident that no country can maintain long-term stability and prosperity without human rights, political participation and economic freedom for its citizens.

In conclusion we must deter leaders from committing crimes. We are trapped in cycles of violence and impunity because of the brutal pursuit of wealth and power by irresponsible, reckless and careless leaders. These leaders and their diehard supporters must know one thing: whenever you commit crimes you will not be able to rest at ease.

The wheels of justice are long, patient, and once set in motion, they are inescapable. There is no expiry date for these crimes; you will eventually be brought to account.

Victims of crimes are not atavistic savages without rights and dignity. Access to justice is their right and if their country cannot or will not take action to accord them justice, there is real hope for redress for the worst crimes internationally. No country worth its name, credibility and reputation and is part of comity of civilized society can offer international fugitives sanctuary.

A country or even a country cannot be lead by accused person accused serious crimes be it criminal, abuse of office, economic and corruption etc. Only pariah or failed state does that. No amount of cagey propaganda with intent of preserving and protecting criminals from accountability will succeed.

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