Tag Archives: Uhuru Kenyatta

Manthorpe on the International Criminal Court: a hobbled creature

Fatou Bensouda

ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has withdrawn charges against Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta and said she’ll “hibernate” investigations into crimes in Dafur, for which President Omar al-Bashir was charged with genocide and war crimes in 2008.

The International Criminal Court is a “hobbled creature,” unable to bring to justice perpetrators of crimes against humanity, writes  International Affairs columnist Jonathan Manthorpe’s. It’s under-resourced, shunned by China, Russia, and America, and under attack by critics with much to gain who say it’s a tool of western neo-colonialism, and biased against Africa. An excerpt of Manthorpe’s new column, Tyrants trump under-resourced International Criminal Court:

When the International Criminal Court came to life in 2002 it was touted as a place where tyrants and their underlings would be brought to account for genocide and crimes against humanity.

But the ICC, based in The Hague, has never gained altitude. The limits on its powers and its inability to fulfil even its restricted mandate were put on display this month by the court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda. On Dec. 5 she withdrew charges of crimes against humanity lodged against Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta. A week later, Dec. 12, Bensouda said she will “hibernate” investigations into crimes against humanity in the Sudanese region of Dafur, in which President Omar al-Bashir and some of his officials were charged with genocide and war crimes in 2008.

Bensouda’s climb-downs came as representatives of the 122 countries involved in the ICC, the Assembly of States, met in New York. It was not a happy meeting. The ICC’s budget was cut, Kenya led a charge accusing the court of being biased against African heads of state, and the Palestinian Authority achieved observer status with the intention of suing Israel for war crimes when it achieves full membership … Log in to read Tyrants trump under-resourced International Criminal Court  (subscription*).



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Amid bloodshed, Kenya’s leader plays dangerous game


Uhuru Kenyatta

In accusing “local political networks” and an “opportunist network of other criminal gangs,” Kenya’s president has tried obliquely to blame his political opposition for recent bloodshed, writes International Affairs analyst Jonathan Manthorpe in today’s column. It’s a dangerous tactic, which focuses attention on a history of bloody rivalry and the country’s ineffectual government since independence from Britain. An excerpt: 

It is logical, but far too easy, to blame the Somali-based militant Islamic group al-Shabaab for massacres in two Kenyan coastal communities on Sunday and Monday in which close to 100 people were killed.

It’s logical because the attacks on the town of Mpeketoni and the nearby village of Majembeni fit into a pattern of about 100 revenge terrorist attacks by al-Shabaab since the Kenyan military invaded Somalia in 2011 to help other regional forces dislodge the Muslim extremists. The most high-profile of these was last September’s terrorist attack on the upmarket Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi in which at least 67 people died.

But, despite al-Shabaab’s claim of responsibility for these latest attacks close to the coastal tourist Mecca of Lamu, domestic political struggles, especially for control of land, look to be a far more likely reason for the bloodshed.

Indeed, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Tuesday, the massacres were the work of “local political networks” and not al-Shabaab. … read more (subscription required)*

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Local grievances fuel Kenyan massacres

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