5 April 2013

Kenya: We Are Neglected By the State, Pev Victims Tell ICC

Photo: Thijs Bouwknegt/RNW
Three more witnesses have withdrawn against president-elect Uhuru Kenyatta's ICC case (file photo).

POST-ELECTION violence victims have complained to ICC of neglect by the government of Kenya. In a report presented to ICC judges by the court's registry, victims complained of lack of medical support, discrimination from re-settlement programmes and continued victimization for participating in the ICC process.

The report is the second to be prepared by the Victims Participation and Reparation Section in cooperation with the two victims lawyers- Fergal Gaynor and Wilfred Nderitu in a span of four months.

The unit met with 96 of the 120 victims in the deputy President-elect William Ruto's case and 170 of the 208 victims in the President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta's case authorized to participate in the confirmation of charges.

"They reported that despite their displacement, none of them has received land grants, relocation stipends or access to medical or psychological support," the report said of Naivasha and Nakuru violence victims.

The report said victims in the Ruto case wondered why the charge of rape is not proffered on the accused. Victims residing in Eldoret said they feared insecurity, they lacked government support to reintegrate them back into society and they did not trust the legal and electoral systems.

In Uasin Gishu, victims said the government has done little to restore their livelihood and local judicial mechanisms have failed them. "Many reported living in fear due to the fact that they continue to reside among the same tribal community that perpetrated the violence against them in 2007-2008. They fear reprisals if their cooperation with the ICC becomes known and politicized," said the report.

In Vihiga, victims said they continue to suffer as a result of the loss of life and property due to the PEV. Some said their children were dying because they were no longer able to provide for them. Kikuyu victims in Nyanza said they have had to struggle to maintain their livelihood while relocating and rebuilding.

Nakuru and Naivasha victims now residing in Migori said they still require psychological support for the trauma they suffered and compensation for lost business and educational opportunities.

Kalenjins who suffered from Kisumu asked ICC whether the right to participate in the cases is transferable because they feared they may not live to see the trial reach its conclusion.

"Victims reported feeling discriminated against in Kisumu because they came from Nakuru and Naivasha. They said they are being treated as "outsiders", and are usually the first to be blamed for any incidents or petty crimes that occur within their village," said the report. The report informs the judges that some local organizations working with ICC have received threats linked to their cooperation with the court.

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