26 July 2014

Kenya: ICC Victims Say They Can't Bury Their Dead

Photo: Uhuru Kenyatta
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto (file photo).

VICTIMS in the ICC case against Deputy President William Ruto have complained to the court that they are forced to bury their dead in public cemeteries, although the families still own the land from which they were wrongfully evicted. They also fear that they too will be buried far from their homes.

In the 10th report on the status of victims of the 2007-08 post-election violence, the victims tell the judges that they have been unable to reclaim their properties years on.

More than 1,500 people died, 3,000 were raped and around 300,000 people displaced in the communal violence that followed contested polls. The victims -- xxx have taken their cases to court -- also complained that they have been forced to live in areas far removed from their family farms, often in hostile areas. They talk of extortion, confrontation and threats from their "host communities."

"The members of the group were also troubled that many of the people with whom they were displaced have since passed away and that many of those victims were being buried in public cemeteries as opposed to their own properties," said the report prepared by the victims' lawyer Wilfred Nderitu and the ICC's Victims Participation and Reparation Section.

"Most of the victims in this group, who are themselves elderly, are worried that they too will be buried on land that is not their own," the report says. They complained that their children have had to drop out of schools since they cannot earn a proper livelihood and pay their children's fees.

In contrast, their peers who were not evicted have moved ahead and prospered. This state of affairs and disparity has caused "significant stress and anxiety," the report said.

Victims in Uasin Gishu county are also reported to be worried about their personal security due to their participation in the ongoing case involving a powerful politician.

"Some victims also explained that they have been threatened with the removal of their names from the public interest litigation cases brought on their behalf against the government for its failure to protect its citizens during the PEV, if they get involved in the Court's cases," the report to judges said.

According to the victim's lawyer Nderitu, the victims are confused about the nature and scope of assistance and reparations they are likely to receive from the court. They are worried whether the awards will reach them while they are alive, wherever they might be living.

They still feel as though they are living amongst a hostile perpetrator community and some suffer harassment from the local population, the report said.

"They reported instances of extortion and property theft and destruction by the local population that largely goes unpunished by the local administration," the report said.

Copyright © 2014 The Star. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.