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Cablegate: Kenya's Electoral Crisis - International Human

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NAIROBI 000277

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL KE
SUBJECT: KENYA'S ELECTORAL CRISIS - INTERNATIONAL HUMAN
RIGHTS BODIES JOIN (OR DRAGGED INTO) THE FRAY

1. Summary: The post-election violence that has killed over
700 people and displaced an estimated 250,000 more has drawn
the attention of international human rights groups and
institutions. Human Rights Watch currently has a research
team in country to collect information and analyze events and
has issued a press release accusing the opposition Orange
Democratic Movement of organizing ethnic violence in the Rift
Valley. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a
statement calling on the Kenyan government to conduct an
impartial investigation of killings. The International
Criminal Court (ICC) has also been drawn into the fray. Both
the government and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) have
called on the ICC to investigate alleged crimes against
humanity, but it is unlikely that either request will result
in an ICC case. Nevertheless, the international attention
reinforces Kenyans' hopes that outside bodies can help bring
resolution to the current ruinous stalemate. End Summary.

2. Human Rights Watch (HRW) has had a research team in
country for the past ten days. They are focusing on the
post-election violence, particularly in Kisumu, Eldoret and
Nairobi. The team is due to leave the country this week.
Based on its investigations, HRW issued a statement on
January 24 accusing some members of the ODM of organizing
post-election violence targeting Kikuyu in the Rift Valley.
HRW also stated that more attacks on Kikuyu are planned in
Eldoret, the scene of some of the most brutal violence in
Rift Valley. Prior to that, the team relayed to poloff that
it had initial indications that the Administration Police
were involved in killing 43 protesters in Kisumu on December
31. HRW may send a larger team to more fully investigate its
preliminary findings. HRW's press releases have gotten
extensive coverage in Kenyan media. We have requested to
Human Rights Watch to make available to us their evidence.

3. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour,
issued a pres release on January 21 in which she reiterated
her deep concern about the continued violence and reports of
grave human rights abuses in Kenya. She also condemned the
use of live ammunition by police in responding to protests.
She called on the Kenyan Government to abide by its human
rights obligations and called for an impartial and
expeditious investigation to determine responsibility for the
killings. She called for anyone found responsible to be
brought to justice.

4. Kenyan politicians are attempting to drag another human
rights body, the International Criminal Court, into the
political arena. The ODM's Secretary General, Professor
Anyang Nyon'go, announced that he has written to the ICC's
chief prosecutor asking him to investigate alleged crimes
against humanity and state-sponsored terrorism allegedly
perpetrated by the Kenyan government. This announcement
appears to be aimed more at the court of public opinion than
a court of law. The ICC's statute does allow the court to
receive information on crimes within the jurisdiction of the
court from individuals or NGOs. However, the ICC only has
jurisdiction over cases where a state is unwilling or
genuinely unable to carry out the investigation or
prosecution. The ICC is deferential to states' attempts to
investigate crimes. Therefore, the ICC is unlikely to find it
has jurisdiction if the Kenyan government initiates even the
most mild investigation into the subject of ODM's complaint.

5. After Nyon'go's statement, Justice Minister Martha Karua
countered that the government is also considering filing a
request for investigation at the ICC for genocide. However,
if the government makes such a request, an ICC genocide case
is equally unlikely. Certainly, terrible crimes have been
(and are still being) committed in opposition-dominated
areas. But the crime of genocide by definition requires
state action, so the ICC would not have jurisdiction to
consider accusations that non-state actors (in this case,
opposition elements) engaged in genocide.

6. COMMENT: Ordinary Kenyans give much credit to the
international community (writ large) as an agent for positive
change. The interest and attention that international human
rights groups are paying to the current human rights
situation has reinforced this belief among Kenyans. Kenyans

NAIROBI 00000277 002 OF 002


see this international attention as concurrent to
international facilitation efforts, which they hope will lead
to a resolution of the current crisis and to a return to
normalcy.
RANNEBERGER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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