News24

Kenyan press: Let there be justice

2010-12-16 14:07

Nairobi - Kenyan newspapers on Thursday welcomed the naming by the International Criminal Court of six suspected masterminds of the post-election violence that tore the country apart three years ago.

The country's main dailies chided those politicians who reacted angrily at the world court's announcement and urged all parties to allow the judicial process to take its course and deliver justice.

"Ocampo has spoken, let the process begin," said the Daily Nation, Kenya's leading newspaper, referring to ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo who on Wednesday named six suspects who face charges of crimes against humanity over the post-electoral violence that left some 1 500 people dead and hundreds of thousands displaced.

Among the six are Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of the country's founding president and a deputy prime minister and William Ruto, a political heavyweight and presidential hopeful as well as President Mwai Kibaki's right-hand man.

The Daily Nation argued that those protesting at foreign interference in Kenya's affairs should look at their own failure to set up a local tribunal to try the perpetrators of the violence.

"International intervention only kicked in after the selfsame politicians who are now crying foul sabotaged attempts to establish a local special tribunal," the daily said.

Most of the suspects named by Ocampo said they would cooperate should ICC judges accept the request for summonses but also proclaimed their innocence.

Real justice in sight

The Nairobi Star said suspects should resign from office pending the judges' final verdict, pointing out that two ministers investigated over graft had to step aside recently.

"We cannot have double standards. Either ministers and government officers being prosecuted for criminal offenses are allowed to remain at work, or they should stand down until the case is decided," the paper said.

The Standard, another major Kenyan daily, said Ocampo's findings could bring about a turning point in Kenyan politics.

"With the arm of international justice extending this far, there is a possibility the country could be reborn to meet the challenges of justice for the voiceless majority," it said.

"It's the beginning of the end of impunity", it added. "For the first time there is a real possibility real justice could be in sight."