Impunity must fail

The decision by the United Nations to reject a demand by African Nations to defer the International Criminal Court (ICC) trial of Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto has sent the correct signal to the continent, namely that impunity will not be tolerated.

The message is very clear; nobody, no matter how powerful has a right to subject citizens to terror, and least of all take away life and get away with it.

Nobody should buy pangas or machetes to arm thugs who cause mayhem, injury and murder. Those who do so must face the full wrath of the law and if local police jurisdictions fail an ultimate appeal should be made to the ICC. This is the only hope for the ordinary people who often suffer serious repression under an insensitive leadership.

Indeed crimes against humanity, which gives rise to trials before the ICC, come in many forms and often are perpetrated by those in power who feel above the law by virtue of their place in society.

But like everything else power is ephemeral, fleeting and most certainly transitory. A time will come when every individual must face up to their own demons, either in this life or indeed in their next one, but in all likelihood they will face judgment in the present life, before the ICC or indeed our own local courts.

That is why the people who commit crimes against humanity must be caged.  The people who are intolerant and are ready to purchase pangas to terrorize, injure and kill those that disagree must face the ultimate judgment.  Violence in any shape must not be tolerated.

The attempt by African leaders  to delay the trial of Kenyatta and Rutto failed dramatically at the UN because it had no merit. The people that were butchered in Kenya had no choice, no opportunity and indeed no chance of postponing their deaths or injuries. Those events were planned elsewhere and unleashed on them- the poor and hapless community.

The excuse by African leaders that the ICC was racist and biased against Africa was absolute nonsense. Yes it it is true that United States, China, Russia, Israel, Pakistan, India, North Korea, Saudi Arabia Qatar and a number of other countries have not signed the agreement subjecting themselves to the ICC, but this does not justify allowing impunity among those countries that have signed.

This argument is buttressed by the fact that all the cases that the court is currently hearing, 20 of them, come from eight countries- all of them African and against two sitting heads of state.

This of course appears unfair until we consider that African countries voluntarily and that five of the 21 judges are African. The Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is from Gambia although the initial prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo appeared to be Western biased.

This argument however breaks down with the knowledge that the ICC is dealing with cases of extreme cruelty and suffering involving African victims, that in fact some African countries have referred the cases to the Court.

In the case of Kenya for example, civil society and ordinary Kenyans have opposed their Government request for deferral. They have been witnesses to the massive suffering, murder and impunity to which so many citizens were subjected and feel that justice must be exacted.

The majority of Kenyans actually want their President tried by the ICC for alleged crimes against humanity. 67percent of 2,060 Kenyans felt that for the sake of justice, fairness and equity the President should be tried and if guilty face the ultimate punishment.

This is inevitable. I,200 people died in Kenya while millions others were displaced due to ethnic and political violence. People that had lived together for many centuries found themselves as enemies because of the stoking and provocation championed by politicians.

It is this politically inspired violence that must be stopped, nipped in the bud before it flowers, hence the need for effective and definitive action wherever it shows itself.