There are those who feel the ICC will not offer any solution to the violence that left about 1,500 people dead, 350,000 others displaced and property worth millions of shillings destroyed.
Despite these variations, there is a lot of interest in the proceedings as most Kenyans remain glued to their TV sets to monitor the confirmation of charges hearings that started on September 1 for MPs William Ruto, Henry Kosgey and Radio personality Joshua arap Sang.
Most of the main TV stations in Kenya have altered their normal programming to relay live coverage of the proceedings at The Hague.
Gregory (not his real name) a victim of the violence who is now living in Kisumu after he was displaced from Eldoret says the proceedings at The Hague remind Kenyans of the prevailing ethnic strife in 2008.
Gregory just walks out of a hall in the outskirts of Kisumu town where he has been following the hearings at The Hague with 20 others.
He says, “These hearings are OK but I doubt how the witnesses of Ruto were bringing out their information. It is looking like they are not sure of what they are saying. They are nailing Ruto instead of defending him because of their contradictory information.”
However he says, “Kosgey’s lawyer is addressing the court well, in a good way with facts.”
A victim from Naivaisha, ‘John’ feels that the ICC will finally deliver justice. He only hopes the court will clamp down the perpetrators who sponsored the attacks.
“Our government abandoned the victims. The government is always supporting the perpetrators. It has no mercy. That money spent to send representatives to The Hague is a lot of money that could have resettled some victims. But the government doesn’t think of us at all. There can never be justice from Kenya. Let the ICC do its work,” John cries.
Another victim from Eldoret feels that both the defence and the prosecution are properly acquainted with the cases before the court, “They have everything at their finger tips. But some of the defence teams show many contradictions.”
He is unhappy that the prosecution will have a difficult task in nailing suspects, because “Most Kenyans are never ready to speak the truth, they never accept their mistakes… all they love doing is shifting blame…but we are waiting for Ocampo to give his evidence because he has it.”
Kituo Cha Sheria (a local Non Governmental Organisation meaning Centre for Rights) that has been working closely with victims of PEV is praising the ICC for having managed to go as far as to the confirmation of charges hearing stage.
Accountability for all
Organisations’ Chief Executive Officer Priscilla Nyokabi says whether the court manages to convict some or none of the Ocampo six, “what is important is that people now know they have to be accountable for their actions”.
Ms Nyokabi feels that the ICC process has given hope for justice since Kenya has not instigated any local process to investigate the violence. But she regrets that should there be any convictions, it will be a shame for Kenyans to be jailed in foreign countries.
“We don’t want to have a country that has prisoners in other countries,” she explained, “If they get convicted, where do we want them imprisoned? If I were them I would be asking the court, ‘can I be jailed in Nairobi, or maybe in Kampala, some nearby place where relatives can come to see me’, if you are imprisoned so far away, you are finished!”
Ms Nyokabi is urging the pre-trial chamber to deliver a simultaneous ruling on both cases to avoid many days of tensions.
Former National Council of Churches of Kenya Secretary General, (now a Member of Parliament for Gachoka Constituency) says the country must learn from the ongoing confirmation of charges hearings that justice will finally catch up with the perpetrators of violence.
Mr Musyimi who believes that the entire country is guilty for the violence asserts, “People died and we buried many of them. We need to understand that all of us are in The Hague and not just the ‘Ocampo six’.
Thirst for justice
The International Centre for Policy and Conflict Executive Director Ndungu Wainaina attributes the high interest to Kenyans’ thirst for justice and the truth.
He says it is interesting how the prosecutor ‘convincingly’ tabled evidence and summary write ups of his witnesses though he notes it was a challenge for the defence to interrogate the prosecution witnesses.
Mr Wainaina is however unhappy that the defence has been keener on proving political responsibility instead of individual criminal accountability.
“The defence is arguing more on the political side. They are trying to prove there was political responsibility when they brought the name of the Prime Minister. But they should know it is not about political responsibility. Their big challenges should be defending their criminal liability,” he says.
The lawyer is happy with Sureta Chania (Legal Representative of the victims), “She represented the victims well, she put herself in the real position of the victims, she brought out the emotional bit of it, how the victims suffered and how they were affected, at least the judges understand the suffering of the victims.”
He also feels Mr Ruto’s witnesses did not add any value to his defence but only raised many contradictory statements.
Mr Wainaina strongly believes that the evidence coming out of the ICC proceedings will have an impact on political alliances in Kenya, “Once the public gets this kind of evidence, it will be hard to convince people to support those linked to such planning of attacks.”
Acknowledging the sensitivity of some of the evidence released, he says at least Kenyans understand the court is not dealing with a community or a group but individuals.