Impact or no impact: The International Criminal Court’s intervention in Kenya A 'Learning from Human Rights Defenders' Spring Talk

This event has now finished.
  • Date and time: Tuesday 12 March 2024, 1pm to 1.50pm
  • Location: In-person only
    YH/001b, Research Centre for Social Sciences
  • Admission: Free admission, booking not required

Event details

Abstract: The echoes of Kenya's post-election violence still linger today. Kenyans flocked to the polls on December 27, 2007, to elect leaders, who would guide the country for another five-year term. Instead, on December 30, the country descended into political anarchy, an upheaval that would most likely shape the course of the country's political history for many years to come.

What began as a disputed presidential election quickly escalated into a deadly wave of violence, leaving an indelible mark on the country's political structure. The two-month period of carnage took a horrific toll, with more than 1,300 people killed and over 600,000 people forcibly uprooted from their homes, and forced to live in run-down camps for the internally displaced.

The International Criminal Court's (ICC) efforts to hold those responsible for the violence sparked a well-known debate within and beyond Kenya. On one front, there were apprehensions that holding accountable prominent perpetrators could exacerbate ethnic tensions and impede national reconciliation. On the other side, proponents argued that the ICC's involvement in Kenya was not only morally justified but also could act as a deterrent against future violence in a country that had witnessed ethnic conflicts since the advent of multiparty politics in 1992. This ongoing discourse reflected the fundamental 'dilemma' of transitional justice—a precarious equilibrium between the necessities of justice and peace in post-conflict situations.

Our speaker, Robert Wanjala, an investigative journalist who reported on ICC proceedings both in Kenya and The Hague, will share his experiences in a politically charged environment. He will dissect the impact and challenges of the international court, at the height of demonization of the court as a tool for "global power politics and not justice."

About the speaker

Robert Wanjala

Robert Wanjala is a trained investigative journalist and a passionate advocate for human rights, particularly media freedom and the safety of journalists.

With over a decade of experience, he has extensively covered criminal justice, human rights, social and land justice, and governance issues, including corruption, gender issues, and transnational organized crime.

He is the founder of Journalism Hub East Africa, a project committed to empowering journalists in the region to report on good governance, corruption, and human rights.

He is currently a Fellow at the Centre for Applied Human Rights, University of York.