We must protect victims, Ocampo's witnesses too
May 25, 2010
Louis Moreno-Ocampo, Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, has come and gone. His visit did not, however, clarify what Kenyans are impatient to know.
We know he is pursuing cases involving politicians from both sides of the Grand Coalition, in which businesspeople, civil servants and state security agents may also be involved. But which cases specifically remain unclear.
....On the ground, communities of the ethnic/political persuasion who believe “their” men are being unfairly targeted are not making the distinction that we must all make between victims and potential witnesses.
So let us reiterate that distinction here. Victims are Kenyans who suffered the effects of the violence — those who lost family members, who were injured, who had their homes and property destroyed, who were forcibly displaced.
They are numerous. Many of them have already had the courage to share their experiences with numerous interlocutors — national and international human-rights organisations, humanitarian and relief organisations, the Commission of Inquiry into the Post Elections Violence and the media.
They have done so in the belief that their stories will not just be heard but be responded to — in terms of providing them not just with criminal justice but also with restorative justice.
Providing them with temporary refuge, an unsatisfactory resettlement exercise, only nominal medical and psychological care and even more nominal help to reconstruct their livelihoods simply is not good enough.
But the point here is that they are victims. And the ICC provides all victims, whether witnesses for the Prosecutors’ cases or not, the right to both independently participate in the court’s proceedings as well as to receive, in the event of successful convictions, reparations.