Kenya: Justice for victims of post-election violence still an urgent priority

Justice for victims of the 2007-2008 post-election violence is still an urgent priority, said Amnesty International, following today’s move by the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to withdraw charges of crimes against humanity against Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta. 

“Thousands died in the post-election violence in Kenya and this development throws a stark light on the continuing impunity for those who committed these serious crimes. Victims of these crimes are still waiting for justice and closure,”  said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes. 

“The withdrawal of the charges is not a vindication of President Uhuru Kenyatta, rather it is an indictment of the government of Kenya and the International Criminal Court, both of which continue to fail the victims of the post-election violence by denying them the justice they rightfully deserve. 

“It is a travesty that the government of Kenya has failed to ensure justice is done at the national level.” 

The door is open for renewed charges to be brought against Uhuru Kenyatta at a later date if sufficient evidence is obtained. The ICC also retains jurisdiction, and Amnesty International urges it to investigate others who may be responsible for crimes during the post-election violence. 

“The prosecution must draw lessons from this process and its investigative failures,” said Muthoni Wanyeki. 

“Six years on, the victims are still crying for justice. The government of Kenya’s lack of cooperation with the Office of the Prosecutor is deplorable and today’s ruling will not deter us from supporting them in their pursuit of that goal.” 

In July this year, Amnesty International released a report titled; Crying for Justice – Victims’ perspectives on justice for the post-elections violence in Kenya.   The report lambasted the government’s continued failure to properly investigate crimes committed during the 2007-2008 post-election violence and to provide justice and reparation for its victims. It extensively depicted the devastating impact of the violence on the lives and livelihoods of the victims. 

The violence claimed more than 1,100 lives, left 660,000 homeless and thousands more suffering with lasting injuries.