The International Criminal Court is closely watching Kenya and will not hesitate to do the necessary if crimes are committed in the next general elections, its Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has warned Kenya politicians.
Bensouda said the court had learnt important lessons and would seek to do things differently if any chaos erupt in Kenya in the next elections.
She said just because the Prosecutor had “a bad experience” in Kenya, the court will not turn the other way in case of new crimes against humanity.
“I am not praying for bad things to happen, but if ICC crimes are committed, and Kenya does not attempt to try those cases, the court will do its duty and discharge its obligation under the Rome Statute,” she said.
The warning comes against the backdrop of heightened political tension in the country, a situation which many fear, if unchecked, could be the precursor of another episode of election-related violence.
More than 1,133 Kenyans were killed and another 500,000 others displaced after the disputed 2007/2008 election.
The 2013 contest was peaceful largely because of what observers termed as the deterrent factor of the ICC cases which at the time were facing Uhuru Kenyatta, William Ruto, Francis Muthaura and Joshua arap Sang.
The Office of the Prosecutor is now working to be as trial-ready as possible before starting cases, looking for alternative forms of evidence instead of relying entirely on witnesses, and starting prosecution of mid-level perpetrators before moving up higher the chain.