Kenya poll shows Hague still popular

Thursday December 2 2010

By SAMWEL KUMBA [email protected]

Public confidence in the International Criminal Court remains high, a new report shows.

Eminent African personalities panel shows that Kenyans prefer ICC to local courts, citing lack of confidence in local judicial institutions.

The panel, chaired by former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan, says in their report that this is because Parliament failed to set up a local tribunal to try perpetrators of the post-election violence.

Mr Annan and the ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo are in the country to discuss the implementation of Agenda Four and to update the principals on the indictment progress.

The court will issue warrants of arrest or summons mid this month to about six people believed to have played a key role in the chaos.

Violence after the 2007 elections killed 1,133 people and left over 6,000 families displaced. Only 789 have received land and relocated to their farms, according the Special Programmes ministry.

In June this year, 52 per cent of those interviewed by South Consulting in their national survey, were confident that the ICC would prosecute senior people over the violence.

In that survey, over 50 per cent of people in Central, Eastern and the Coast provinces said they would support ICC trials. In the Rift Valley, North Eastern and Western provinces, slightly more than 30 per cent would support the trial.

Significantly, only five per cent in all provinces think that their people would violently attack members of other communities. Recent interviews on which the current report is based seem to corroborate these findings.

Discussions in the Rift Valley and Central regarding ‘who bears the greatest responsibility’ regard the possible indictment of some leaders from the area as unjustified and motivated by the need to eliminate political rivals.

The research, carried out between July and October this year, indicates that arrests will be deemed fair if senior politicians from all communities are arrested simultaneously or within a short period.

The report envisages that if there are any attacks, they will be put down by the police. It also reiterates the need to watch the middle and lower level perpetrators to deter those that carried out the actual arson, killings and rape.

The report calls for police reforms, and warns against another election without the reforms. It also indicates that internally displaced people (IDPs) perceived as ‘aggressors’ have not received adequate government assistance, citing Kalenjin IDPs who lost property during the violence.

This, it warns, has bred deep resentment against Kikuyu IDPs who are seen as to have enjoyed more state support.