This holiday season Kenyans will be watching the International Criminal Court (ICC), awaiting a decision – expected between 23 December and January 2012 – on confirmation-of-charges hearings against the first three of six high-level suspects who allegedly bear the greatest responsibility for violence that erupted after the disputed 2007 presidential poll, leading to the deaths of at least 1,200 people and the displacement of hundreds of thousands.

Below are 12 key events on Kenya’s journey to the ICC:

The Post-Election Violence (PEV): Following the 30 December 2007 presidential election results, then opposition leader Raila Odinga (now prime minister) and his supporters reject the declared victory of incumbent Mwai Kibaki (now president), alleging rigging. Protests degenerate into widespread violence with calm only returning after the formation of a coalition government in February 2008.

23 May 2008: The Commission of Inquiry into the Post-Election Violence (CIPEV) is set up and mandated to investigate the violence, the conduct of state security agencies in their handling of it and to make recommendations concerning these and other matters.

October 2008: CIPEV, popularly referred to as the "Waki Commission" after the chairman, appeal judge Phillip Waki, releases a report, which concludes that the post-election violence "was more than a mere juxtaposition of citizens-to-citizens opportunistic assaults [but] systematic attacks on Kenyans based on their ethnicity and their political leanings". The report calls for the creation of a special tribunal to prosecute the post-election violence crimes. In late 2008/early 2009, attempts to establish a special tribunal fail. Chants such as "Don’t be vague, go to the Hague" became popular, with most citizens expressing a distrust of the local justice system.

16 July 2009: An envelope with a list of persons who could be implicated in the violence and documents compiled by CIPEV is handed over to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo, at The Hague. On 5 November 2009, Moreno-Ocampo notifies the ICC president of his intention to submit a request for the start of an investigation into Kenya’s PEV. The ICC presidency issues the "Decision assigning the situation in the Republic of Kenya to Pre-Trial Chamber 11" on 6 November. This was followed by a 26 November 2009 request by the prosecutor to initiate investigations in Kenya.

31 March 2010: The  ICC Chamber, by majority, concurs with the prosecutor that the alleged crimes against humanity occurred in Kenya, paving the way for the PEV investigations for the period between 1 June 2005 (when the Rome Statute ratifying the court entered into force in Kenya) and 26 November 2009 (the date of the filing of the Prosecutor’s Request).

15 December 2010: The list of the "Ocampo six" is released. Moreno-Ocampo then requests the court to issue summonses to Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Industrialization Minister Henry Kosgey, Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Muthaura and former education minister William Ruto, as well as former police commissioner Mohamed Hussein Ali and radio journalist Joshua Arap Sang, to voluntarily appear before the ICC for their alleged responsibility in the commission of crimes against humanity.

8 March 2011: Pre-Trial Chamber II issues, by majority, summonses for the six suspects to appear before the court.

31 March 2011: Kenya challenges the admissibility of the ICC cases, arguing in a submission to the Court that as a result of the adoption of a new constitution and ongoing judicial reforms, it is now capable of investigating the six suspects itself.

7 and 8 April 2011: Ruto, Kosgey, and Sang – case one; and Muthaura, Kenyatta and Ali – case two – appear voluntarily before the Court.

30 May 2011: Pre-Trial Chamber II rules on the admissibility of the cases against the six.

30 August 2011: The ICC’s Appeals Chamber confirms the Pre-Trial Chamber II 30 May 2011 decision on the admissibility of the cases against the six suspects as no national investigations are ongoing into the same individuals.

1-8 September 2011 and 21 September to 5 October 2011: The confirmation of charges hearing is held for the suspects in cases one and two, respectively.

The ICC, established by the Rome Statute on 1 July 2002, has been conducting investigations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Central African Republic, Kenya and Sudan. Moreno-Ocampo is to be replaced by his deputy, Fatou Bensouda, when his term ends in 2012.


This article first appeared on Dec. 23, 2011 on IRIN (the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN-OCHA), with the title Kenya: Journey to the ICC ’. Items from IRIN are published in this blog with a written permission to do so. Yet, this doesn’t necessarily indicate an endorsement of the claims therein.

Check the Kenya archive for previous and forthcoming posts.

Daniel Berhane

more recommended stories