ICC: EAC Quest a Disappointment

Published on 1st May 2012
The East African Legislative Assembly's bid to transfer cases facing 4 Kenyans at the International Criminal Court to the East African Court of
Justice is noble and embarrassing at the same time. It is noble owing to the fact that the region must exhibit self-determination and willingness to solve its own problems. The bid is embarrassing because it wants to withdraw a case from The Hague despite the fact that Kenya willingly dragged itself to The Hague through a parliamentary vote and continues to fail to lay internal mechanisms to try the perpetrators of the 2007-2008 Post Election Violence (PEV).  The bid also demonstrates how those in power in Africa always go to great lengths to shield themselves from due process of law.

The East African Community member states also suffered from the negative effects of PEV and one would have expected them to offer guidance to Kenya's political class prior to The Hague option. EALA should not fall prey to short term interests of political elites in the region. The fear of ICC by the mighty in the region is an indicator that the judicial processes are yet to wean themselves of political interference. East Africans find themselves in the predicament of their forefathers who had to countenance rogue chiefs out to sale them to Arab traders as slaves and European benefactors. 

The wisest choice would be to choose the side of East Africans as opposed to political elites out to protect their short term interests. EALA's motive may inadvertently give the region a criminal court that can help prosecute the political elites that operate above their national laws. The proposed court should however not interfere with the momentum already set by the ICC process to check impunity in this region.

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