Joint USIU-Africa-Kent Law School workshop at USIU-Africa, After the ICC Intervention in Kenya

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Participants take a group photo during the ICC intervention workshop

By Dr. Njoki Wamai

USIU-Africa and Kent Law School co-hosted a workshop in Nairobi, Kenya titled ‘After the ICC Intervention in Kenya: Reflections and Alternatives’. The interdisciplinary workshop was supported by USIU-Africa’s departments of International Relations, Sociology and Criminal Justice, and co-facilitated by Dr. Sara Kendall (Kent Law School) and Dr. Njoki Wamai (USIU-Africa, International Relations Department). The workshop was funded through Kent’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) ‘Fortuity Fund’, which supports joint projects. Terry Odhiambo from the Sociology and Criminal Justice Departments was also actively involved in organizing this one day workshop.

The workshop discussed the aftermath of the International Criminal Court (ICC) intervention in Kenya, which was meant to address crimes against humanity that occurred in the wake of the 2007 elections. The ICC’s accountability efforts generated high hopes, political tensions and grave disappointments before it withdrew from the country in 2016. Although many Kenyans have moved on, whether politically or professionally, the victims of the violence in 2007 have continued to deal with the aftermath of the ICC’s dramatic appearance and rapid departure from the country. The court brought with it a particular vision of accountability and promises to reconcile affected communities while also changing the Kenyan political landscape. The workshop brought together academics who focus on the ICC, advocates, human rights activists, journalists, and victim activists from Nairobi, Eldoret and Nakuru. USIU-Africa faculty Prof Simeon Sungi, Dr. Duncan Ojwang and Dr. Njoki Wamai presented their research work on the ICC in Kenya among other scholars and activists.

The objective of the meeting was to reflect upon the ICC’s work in Kenya and its legacy, moving beyond the court to consider other avenues for accountability and redress. Sessions included discussions of the ICC’s work in Kenya and eventual withdrawal; domestic criminal justice initiatives (cases on sexual and gender-based violence and police violence); local reconciliation initiatives beyond criminal justice; and current priorities for accountability and redress in Kenya. Participants brought a range of experiences with accountability projects, including grassroots advocacy for internally displaced communities and victims of sexual and gender based violence, assistance to victim representatives before the ICC, and bringing cases in the domestic court system. The organizers will publish a report of discussions and findings that may be used for future academic work and advocacy efforts in Kenya.

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