Saturday, 25 May 2013

We are not ALL on Trial!

There are hard moments when a man has to face the world alone; when he is facing jail happens to be the most public moment of isolation. Ever since the Nuremberg trials, the masterminds of horrors and crimes against humanity have had their moment of justice delivered to them in a public trial where they stood alone accused before millions. Even the toughest, and most hardened criminal would balk at the kind of isolation such trials involve.

Luckily for our own ICC suspects, they are cushioned from that reality by a complicit Attorney General, a genial government and millions of supporters who earnestly believe in their innocence. In fact, the presumption of innocence before proven guilty is nowadays an insistence of innocence in total, so much so that one William Ruto recently went so far as to claim to be an “innocent victim” in a case where he is the suspect!

Now the African Union is seeking to add its own collective voice to the calls for charges to be dropped based on alleged falsehoods.

Africans have the ability to take a common, false persecution mindset to a whole new level of absurdity. We are not ALL on trial. Just 3 people are on trial, not the whole of Kenya and certainly not the entire African continent!

It’s not a surprise that these dinosaur heads of state would claim that their continent is being targeted by the west via the ICC – never mind that they are quite possibly guilty of crimes against humanity. In fact, that argument against the ICC is quite an offensive one, given the nature of criminals thus far who have been charged and tried by the ICC; it is as if they stopped being criminals because they are African!

When it comes to being incapable of considering their countrymen our AU members are tops. This is a group of complacent, despotic and often very old men who treat their nation states as their own personal fiefdom, one that they are not obliged to relinquish ruler ship over, practice democracy in or even allow to develop – whatever suits them. Each country is a personal piggy bank.

They do things as a collective, believing in safety in numbers – so they will vote as a block, they will ratify treaties as a block and they will complain of being targeted as a block. 

What Kenya and these African states don’t realize is that the Rome Statute does not change its mandate simply because 3 people are facing charges at the ICC. It’s in fact rather comical for the AU to vote on petitioning the ICC to drop the charges when the reason the ICC exists and was set up is because of their kind of impunity. Just because the foreign Affairs Minister for Uganda says the charges are false doesn’t mean that the ICC will suspend the cases! 

The logical fallacy is hilarious – You claim the charge is false and so a trial should be stopped but if the charge is false then the suspects have nothing to worry about. What really is all the noise making about?

The noise, loud posturing and buffoonery is about showing solidarity with an ally while knowing very well that it will amount to nothing. Kenya’s pals in the African Union are not capable of changing the course of justice at the ICC and neither would they be willing to pull out of the Rome Statute en mass simply because of these cases. Noise making is what some do when they are scared.

Now, I don’t know if our own Foreign Affairs Ministry is aware, but the two principle suspects have openly and publicly pledged to co-operate with the ICC. While they may be clumsily following directives from some “higher up” to engage other countries for the sake of the suspects, the Foreign Affairs Ministry needs to understand that in doing so they do not represent the Kenya republic but the suspects and that their actions are the exact opposite of co-operating with the ICC.

The more posturing this government does towards the ICC, the more bandying the AU does in favor of the suspects, the higher the likelihood of being marked as uncooperative by the OTP and the court itself. This lack of cooperation, overt or covert through petitions, aggressive letter writing and thinly veiled threats to the ICC may very well result in the one thing the Attorney General should hope does not happen. 

Heaven forbid that an arrest warrant is issued against the suspects, as is the case with Sudan’s President Omar El-Bashir. If Kenya is still willing to arrest the president of a neighboring country in the name of upholding the law, I wonder what the AG would do were the same to happen to our own two principles. 

Common sense would dictate that the AG, Foreign Affairs Ministry and Members of the AU tread carefully then, in light of what disaster can visit should Kenya be seen as uncooperative through their needless machinations. We are not all on trial and dragging the entire country into these cases is unjust, selfish and unfair to millions. Kenyans are not human shields from justice.

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