25 February 2016

Kenya Offers Israel Its Help in Dealing With the ICC

In this week's press wrap - surprise! surprise! - Kenya now wants to share it's ICC-fighting "experience" with the rest of the world

Ever since crimes against humanity charges against him were lifted, it's not often that President Uhuru Kenyatta's foreign travels touch the ICC news peg. This week was different. Kenyatta was in Israel to cement Kenya's ties with one of its oldest allies in the Middle East.

With the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Israel. pic.twitter.com/ikchWdRjhK -- Uhuru Kenyatta (@UKenyatta) February 23, 2016

Of course, one of the things Kenya and Israel have in common - to their profound irritation - is they both have ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in their lives. Kenya because of the 2007/08 PEV and Israel because last year, the ICC prosecutor's office opened a preliminary examination into war crimes complaints relating to the 2014 Gaza war and the settlements. It's a decision that, to put it mildly, Israel didn't take too well.

Israel's Netanyahu rejects ICC's 'preposterous' inquiry into possible #warcrimes... http://t.co/is91r9nTBk pic.twitter.com/Xjs0o71MmL -- Palestine Trends (@Palestinolizer) January 17, 2015

But take heart Israel, Kenya is here to help. According to The Jerusalem Post, Kenya through Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed this week offered Israel its help in thwarting the ICC.

"Welcome to the club, the more the merrier. We can work together. We like to help friends dealing with issues before the ICC. You are not in front of the ICC, so I think it is even premature to discuss it. You may never be in front of the ICC. Kenya has been in front of the ICC, so Kenya has gained a lot of experience. If Israel is eventually brought before the Court, we will be there to help you. We will be willing to share the experience that we have with you."

It's important to pause to take in Mohamed's words. This is the first time that Kenya is proudly boasting to another country that "we like to help friends dealing with issues before the ICC". The bonhomie with which Mohamed says "welcome to the club" certainly leaves no doubt that Kenya certainly feels it has found a kindred spirit in Israel.

Kenya FM to Israel & ICC:"Welcome to the club,the more the merrier.We can work together.We like to help friends dealing w issues before ICC" -- Mark Kersten (@MarkKersten) February 25, 2016

It's not hard to see why Mohamed is in a boastful mood. Kenya - witness the recent Rule 68 decision - more than any other country in the world has a right to feel it took on the ICC and won. The case against Kenyatta and other crumbled under a diplomatic assault and - according to the prosecutor - a well-orchestrated campaign to eliminate and interfere witnesses. The same tactics appear to be working in the case against William Ruto and Joshua Sang.

Mohamed has been the public face and brains behind of Kenya's diplomatic fight against the ICC. When she says Kenya has "experience" in dealing with the ICC, Israel better be taking notes.

Kenya FM: if #Israel ends up targeted by the #ICC "we will be there to help you." https://t.co/QC1eGnH1yq No doubt they have strategies... -- Mark Kersten (@MarkKersten) February 25, 2016

Kenya's opinion-shapers aren't too sure about the ICC any more

How's this for consensus?

OCHIENG: ICC - A tool of world domination by certain Westerners. https://t.co/4PDl5sbWzk pic.twitter.com/1HeW8n3EZK -- Daily Nation (@dailynation) February 22, 2016

KEGORO: The Hague process, which once promised so much, will yield so little https://t.co/VwGFZsGgMb pic.twitter.com/JGSLVOJjx5 -- Daily Nation (@dailynation) February 21, 2016

WAMUGUNDA: ICC prosecutor is responsible for injustice to violence https://t.co/xLMKZeN6Ek pic.twitter.com/Rdzp7fJ22R -- Daily Nation (@dailynation) February 20, 2016

Recently there's been a profusion of opinion pieces in the local dailies decrying the ICC's infectiveness in dealing with the Kenyan crimes against humanity cases before it. The faith of Kenya's opinion-shapers in the ICC process in waning. They all blame the prosecutor's office for "shallow" investigations and think the PEV victims would do well to look for justice elsewhere. Just where nobody is sure.

What's that Winston Churchil said about democracy? "It's the worst form of government excerpt for all the rest." The same probably applies to the quest for justice for Kenya's PEV victims. The ICC isn't perfect, but what other option do the PEV victims have? Riddle me that opinion-shapers. Riddle me that.

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