Dear Mr. Ocampo, I hope this finds you well.
I am writing this letter regarding the matter of Kenya’s 6 most wanted criminals by the ICC. I would love to say that I’m writing on behalf of all Kenyans but alas, I wouldn’t want to presume. I feel that a letter is necessary because things seem to be getting worse and not better. I was concerned when I saw the 6 alleged murderers and rapists working very hard to avoid prosecution. I was concerned, but not enough to write to you. However, many weeks after your announcement, I am positively worried and losing sleep about it. I am worried sick that your once strong resolve to prosecute these alleged criminals to the fullest extent of international law – in accordance with the treaty that Kenya willingly signed – is weakening.
Sir, Kenyans have endured decades of impunity. Did you know, for example, that the last president was in power for over to two decades? There are those that call him a dictator while others loved him. What cannot be denied is that he put the country through what is colloquially termed as “hell”. All of this to say, Kenyans have unfortunately grown accustomed to impunity and a part and parcel of life.
That being said, this has simply gone too far! The Kenyan government has spent – and is planning to spend – obscene amounts of money to push their agenda against the ICC and in the defense of some of the accused. This, despite the fact that the ICC offers legal counsel to the accused at no cost to them. The government is using the country’s coffers to defend people who are accused of some of the worst crimes against humanity while their victims languish endlessly in IDP camps. In essence, the Kenyan government is using tax payer funds to pay for the defense of people accused of crimes against those very tax payers! It’s immoral, unfair, insulting, unjust and unethical, but they don’t care.
Dear Mr. Ocampo, please don’t abandon Kenya. If you hear nothing else I just said, hear this: Kenya NEEDS you. Kenyans need someone to stand up for them; someone who cannot be victimized by the local police or anyone else in the country for that matter; someone who cannot be bought. They need someone who isn’t easily swayed by politics. They need someone to remind their “leaders” and citizens that integrity matters. Sir, please push through with the process; do not be swayed by pressure from this or any other government. Do not let their whining get to you, do not let their cries of unfairness sway you to their side. Do not allow them to use you to get away with these crimes, if found guilty.
However, if you do feel yourself swayed by their arguments – because you are human after all – take a good long look at the victims of these crimes. Let their horror stories of rape, hunger, tears, insecurity, death, abandonment and fear move you to standing your ground. Let the Kenyan governments own decision to have the ICC pursue these cases remind you that you are within your mandate. Let the everyday, hard working Kenyan inspire you forward, for hard work and innovation will mean nothing should the country fall back into chaos. Keep in mind that Kenya is facing another presidential election next year. If they get away with this now, Kenya will never know peace because it will be clear that there will be no consequences for such brutal acts. Finally, remember too that should you allow them to wiggle their way out of this situation, they will be taking your credibility down with them. They will, in essence, be announcing that you too are for sale. That cannot be!
The accused are simply that: accused. Whether or not they’re guilty is for the ICC to decide; do your due diligence and let their attorneys do theirs and then may the chips fall where they may.
Dear Mr. Ocampo, Kenyans need to be reassured that the ICC can and does stand for justice for all; Kenyans need to see a justice system that actually works. I realize that I had not intended to speak on behalf of Kenyans, but it turns out that I did, for better or worse.
Sir, please do not abandon Kenya.