Conflict & Justice

Criminal Court Indictment Haunts Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta


Kenyan presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta, 41, standing for the
ruling party KANU, makes his last campaign stop in Muran'ga December
26, 2002 a day before Kenya goes to the polls. Kenyatta, the son of
founding president Jomo Kenyatta, has pledged a "fresh start" for
Kenya. Many commentators say his main rival, opposition candidate Mwai
Kibaki, 71, has a better chance of winning. REUTERS/Patrick Olum




Kenya's new president, Uhuru Kenyatta, is popular and wealthy. But even though he's occupied the highest office in the land since March, he can't shake an indictment of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court.

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Kenyatta stands accused of "ethnic cleansing," and organizing and funding the murders and displacements of thousands of his opponents after Kenya's 2007 election.

The case is set to be heard at The Hague in July.

But now that Kenyatta has become president, witnesses are quietly withdrawing their testimony.

Maina Kiai is the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.

He also heads the grassroots group InformAction.

Kiai says the ICC case will be hard to try, but not impossible.

"For the first time we're seeing big shots, what we call the "big fish" in this country being taken on," Kiai notes.

But he's cautious about just how far the ICC case will go.

"This country has had a history where if you're rich, you almost always certainly get away," he adds.