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Kenya
The situation in Kenya is the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) fifth investigation. In March 2010, Pre-Trial Chamber (PTC) II authorized the ICC prosecutor to open an investigation into crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Kenya in relation to violence that followed Kenya’s 2007 presidential election, which killed over 1,200 and displaced 600,000.

This was the first time that the prosecutor used his “propriu motu” powers to initiate an investigation without first having received a referral from a state party or the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

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Kenyatta, Ruto and Sang on trial for crimes against humanity
The trial of Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and broadcaster Joshua Arap Sang began on 10 September 2013.
They are suspected of planning and organizing crimes against humanity against perceived supporters of the Party of National Unity (PNU)— predominantly from the Kikuyu, Kamba and Kisii ethnic groups—during the 2007-08 post-election violence. Visit our Ruto/Sang trial webpage.

Charged with planning and organizing crimes against humanity against perceived supporters of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM)— predominantly from the Kalenjin ethnic group—during the same period, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was due to face trial on 5 February 2014. However, ICC judges have rescheduled the start of the trial to 7 October 2014. The new date is intended to allow the Kenyan government time to comply with its obligations to cooperate with a prosecution request for the president’s financial and phone records, which it believes are crucial to its case.

Read our Kenyatta factsheet for more information.

Opening of the investigation
On 26 November 2009, the ICC prosecutor sought authorization from PTC II to open an investigation in relation to the crimes allegedly committed during the 2007-2008 post-election violence in Kenya.

On 18 February 2010, pre-trial judges requested clarification and additional information from the prosecutor in order to decide whether to open an investigation. On 3 March 2010, the prosecution filed its response to this clarification request.

On 31 March 2010, in a majority decision, PTC II held that there was a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation and that the situation appears to fall within the jurisdiction of the Court.

Judges issue summons to appear for six suspects
On 8 March 2011, PTC II issued summonses to appear for Ruto, Henry Kosgey (a prominent ODM politician) and Sang [case one], as well as for Kenyatta, Francis Muthaura (a former head of civil service) and Muhammed Ali (a former police commissioner) [case two], in relation to their alleged roles in the 2007-08 post-election violence. They made their initial appearance before the Court in April 2011.

Judges confirm admissibility of the cases
On 31 March 2011 the Kenyan government challenged the admissibility of the cases before the Court pursuant to Article 19 of the Rome Statute, requesting that the two cases be declared inadmissible, and arguing that the adoption of the new Constitution and associated legal reforms have opened the way for Kenya to conduct its own prosecutions for the post-election violence.

On 30 May 2011, PTC II rejected the Kenyan government’s challenges. On 30 August 2011, the ICC Appeals Chamber confirmed this decision.

Charges confirmed against Kenyatta, Muthaura, Ruto and Sang
On 23 January 2012, PTC II decided to move the cases against Ruto and Sang, and Muthaura and Kenyatta to trial following confirmation of charges hearings held in September and October 2011.

The judges declined to confirm charges against Kosgey and Ali. The decisions were made by a majority of the Chamber, with Judge Hans-Peter Kaul dissenting.

On 9 March 2012, PTC II rejected the applications of the four suspects for leave to appeal the decisions to send their cases to trial.

On 24 May 2012, the Appeals Chamber unanimously rejected the appeals of the four regarding the challenges to the ICC’s jurisdiction over the Kenya situation.

Charges against Muthaura withdrawn
On 11 March 2013, the prosecution withdrew all charges against Francis Muthaura stating that a critical witness recanted a significant part of his evidence and was dropped from the witness list.

Two trial chambers established
On 29 March 2012, Trial Chamber V was constituted to conduct the upcoming trials. However, on 21 May 2013, the ICC Presidency assigned the Ruto/Sang case to Trial Chamber V(a) and the Kenyatta case to Trial Chamber V(b).

On 26 April 2013, Judge Christine Van den Wyngaert had been granted a request to be excused from Trial Chamber V due to her expected workload. She was replaced by Judge Robert Fremr.

Lawmakers vote to withdraw from Rome Statute
On the eve of the opening of the Ruto/Sang trial in September 2013, Kenyan lawmakers supporting termination of the cases against Kenyatta and Ruto voted to withdraw from the Rome Statute, to repeal domestic legislation dealing with international crimes and to end cooperation with the Court. The Coalition has expressed strong opposition to the plan.

Kenyan civil society in the firing line
Kenyan civil society has been at the forefront of calling for justice for victims of Kenya’s post-election violence, supporting the ICC process and actively opposing political attempts to stop the cases. Their support has come at the price of intimidation and a diminishing space in which to operate.

Arrest warrant for journalist for witness interference
On 2 October 2013, Pre-Trial Chamber (PTC) III made public an arrest warrant against Ke­nyan journalist Walter Barasa for interfering with witnesses in the Kenya cases.

ASP adopts new rules on presence of accused at trial
In November 2013, the ICC’s governing body - the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) - adopted changes to the Court’s rules to allow those mandated to fulfill "extraordinary public duties at the highest national level" to request excusal from presence at trial and to be represented by their legal counsel. The Coalition has questioned the process that led to the changes.

Prosecutor requests adjournment of Kenyatta trial
On 19 December, the ICC prosecutor requested an adjournment of the trial date of 5 February 2013 in the Kenyatta case following the withdrawal of two key witnesses.

A defense request to dismiss the case due to the lack of sufficient was rejected by the judges. The start of the trial has been rescheduled to 7 October 2014.

The new date is intended to allow the Kenyan government time to comply with its obligations to cooperate with a prosecution request for Kenyatta’s financial and phone records, which the prosecution believes may hold crucial evidence. A status conference was held on 9 July 2014 to discuss progress on the matter.

Background to the ICC investigation
Kenya ratified the Rome Statute in 2005 and became a state party to the ICC. By becoming a state party, Kenya accepted the jurisdiction of the Court over war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide committed on its territory or by one of its nationals, thereby opening the door for the prosecutor’s investigation into acts which are not being investigated and prosecuted by national authorities.

On 16 July 2009, the prosecutor received six boxes containing documents and supporting material compiled by the Waki Commission, an international commission of inquiry established by the government of Kenya to investigate the post-election violence that occurred between December 2007 and February 2008, following the presidential elections. The documentation included a sealed envelope containing a list of suspects identified by the Waki Commission as those most responsible for the violence.

The prosecutor also received information from Kenyan authorities on witness protection measures and on the status of legal proceedings carried out by national authorities. So far, national attempts at addressing the post-election violence have resulted in the establishment of the Kenyan Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission and discussions in the government to use the regular judicial apparatus instead of a specially constituted tribunal. Constitutional amendments that would have established a special tribunal, as recommended by the Waki Commission, failed to achieve the requisite consensus in parliament, which meant that the Kenyan Government missed the deadline for initiating prosecutions by the end of September 2009, a deadline agreed upon by both the ICC prosecutor and the Kenyan government delegation that visited the ICC on 3 July 2009.

On 3 September 2010 in Nairobi, ICC Registrar Silvana Arbia exchanged letters on the necessary operational and legal framework for the Court to conduct its work in Kenya.
Audio Visual Resources
Author Title Date
ICTJ
22905|22906 03 Dec 2013
International Bar Association
22139|22140 19 Sept 2013
International Crisis GRoup
16708|16709 09 Feb 2012
Human Rights Watch
15898|15899 14 Nov 2011
Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations
12129|12130 Apr 2010
Factsheets
Author Date and Title
CICC
05 Feb 2014
The Kenyatta Case at the International Criminal Court
Amnesty International
16 Sept 2013
Kenya’s ICC trials
Human Rights Watch
02 Sept 2013
Kenya: Q&A on The ICC Trial of Kenya’s Deputy President
ICC Statements and Reports
Author Date and Title
ASP
06 Sept 2013
President Intelmann on approval of motion in the Parliament of Kenya to start the withdrawal process from the Rome Statute
ICC
14 Aug 2013
The Prosecution’s 13 August 2013 Observations on the Venue of the Kenyatta Trial
ICC
14 Aug 2013
Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Statement on the Situation in Kenya
ICC
Mar 2013
Q&A on recent development at the ICC regarding the Kenya situation
ICC-CPI
24 May 2012
Decision on the appeal of Mr Francis Kirimi Muthaura and Mr Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta against the decision of Pre-Trial Chamber II of 23 January 2012
ICC-CPI
24 May 2012
Decision on the appeals of Mr William Samoei Ruto and Mr Joshua Arap Sang against the decision of Pre-Trial Chamber II of 23 January 2012
ICC
23 Jan 2012
Summary of ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II decisions in the Kenya cases
NGO Media Statements
Authorascending Date and Title
AI
27 Aug 2010
Kenya: Refusal to arrest Sudanese president is 'regrettable'
AI
30 Aug 2010
Kenya refuses to arrest Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir
African Civil Society NGOs
22 Oct 2010
Kenya: Do Not Welcome Bashir Back
Amnesty International
09 Mar 2011
Kenya must comply with ICC summons on post-election violence
Amnesty International
09 Apr 2011
Kenya's application before the International Criminal Court: A promise is not enough to pre-empt the Court's jurisdiction
Amnesty International
30 Jan 2013
Kenya: Stalled police reform is a risk to elections
Amnesty International
24 May 2013
African Union: Reject Kenya’s attempt to shield its leaders from accountability
Amnesty International
04 Sept 2013
Kenya: Reject efforts to withdraw from the International Criminal Court
Amnesty International
05 Sept 2013
Kenya’s withdrawal from ICC a travesty for justice
Amnesty International
09 Sept 2013
Kenya: Cooperate fully with International Criminal Court trials
Amnesty International
30 Oct 2013
UN: Victims’ right to justice must take priority at talks over ICC trials on Kenya
Amnesty International
13 Nov 2013
Kenya: Proposed reforms will dramatically undermine human rights
Amnesty International
13 Nov 2013
UN Security Council must reject calls to defer ICC trial on Kenya
Amnesty International
15 July 2014
Kenya: Victims still seeking justice for the post-election violence
Amnesty International UK
23 Jan 2012
Kenya: ICC ruling is 'important milestone for victims'
CICC
26 Nov 2009
Prosecutor Requests Opening of ICC Investigation in Kenya
CICC
31 Mar 2010
ICC opens Kenya Investigation
CICC
27 Aug 2010
Kenyan Authorities Failed To Cooperate With the ICC
CICC
07 Feb 2011
Global Coalition Says Kenya and the African Union Should Uphold Commitment to Justice
CICC
08 Mar 2011
ICC Issues Summons To Appear For Six Kenyans
CICC
07 Apr 2011
Kenya post-election violence suspects appear at ICC
CICC
01 Sept 2011
Key ICC Hearing into Kenya Post-Election Violence to Open
CICC
23 Jan 2012
Four Kenya Post-Election Violence Suspects to Face Trial at ICC
CICC
05 Sept 2013
Withdrawing from ICC Will Not Stop Upcoming Trials of Kenyan Officials
CICC
09 Sept 2013
Trial of Kenyan Post-Election Violence Suspects to Open in The Hague
African Coalitions
13 Sept 2013
African Coalitions’ Joint Press Realease on Kenya’s Attempt to Withdraw from the Rome Statute
East African Law Society
02 May 2012
East African Law Society Statement Over Attempts To Move The ICC Cases To The East African Court Of Justice
FIDH
26 Nov 2009
Unpunished crimes committed in Kenya targeted by ICC Prosecutor: A possibility to bring justice to victims
FIDH
27 Aug 2010
President Bashir must imperatively be arrested in Kenya today
FIDH
15 Dec 2010
A big step towards ending impunity for 2008 post-election violence in Kenya: ICC Prosecutor announces list of 6 main suspects
FIDH
21 Jan 2011
Kenya must uphold the rule of law by continuing to engage with the ICC
FIDH
26 Jan 2011
The African Union must face its responsibilities
FIDH
24 Jan 2012
Accountability for the crimes committed during 2007-2008 post-election violence in Kenya : Four leaders charged with crimes against humanity before the ICC
FIDH
09 Oct 2012
FIDH and KHRC call upon the ICC to ensure a meaningful participation and legal representation for Kenyan victims
FIDH
20 Nov 2013
KENYA: Legislative moves put civil society at risk!
FIDH and KHRC
23 Apr 2014
Kenya: One Year in Office for Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto; Human Rights Record Marred by Abuses
FIDH/KHRC
01 Apr 2010
Prosecutor is given authorisation to open an investigation in Kenya
HRW
26 Nov 2009
ICC: Prosecutor Seeks OK on Kenya Inquiry
HRW
31 Mar 2010
ICC: Judges Approve Kenyan Investigation
HRW
27 Aug 2010
Kenya: Arrest Bashir or Bar Him Entry: ICC Member States Obliged to Arrest Fugitives on Their Territories
HRW
25 Jan 2011
Kenya: Civil Society Organizations Call for Support for the International Criminal Court
HRW
25 Jan 2011
Kenya/African Union: Reaffirm Support for ICC
HRW
09 Mar 2011
ICC: Justice Advances in Kenya Case
HRW
20 Sept 2011
Kenya: Q&A on Pre-Trial Hearing in Second ICC Case
HRW
21 Sept 2011
ICC: Pretrial Hearing for Second Kenya Case
HRW
27 Oct 2011
Kenya: Account for ‘Disappeared’ in Insurgency Crackdown
HRW
04 Nov 2011
Kenya: Mt. Elgon Families Seeking Justice
Human Rights Watch
09 Dec 2011
Kenya: Prosecute Perpetrators of Post-Election Violence
Human Rights Watch
23 Jan 2012
Kenya: ICC Judges OK Election Violence Trials
Human Rights Watch
27 Apr 2012
Kenya: Local Judicial Mechanism Should Complement ICC Cases
Human Rights Watch
01 Aug 2012
Africa: Clinton Should Urge Leaders to Address Abuse
Human Rights Watch
13 Sept 2012
Kenya: Investigate All Politicians in Tana River Violence
Human Rights Watch
23 Nov 2012
Kenya: Investigate Attack on Rights Activist
Human Rights Watch
22 Nov 2012
Kenya: End Security Force Reprisals in North
Human Rights Watch
17 Jan 2013
Kenya: Discrimination Against Rift Valley Displaced
Human Rights Watch
08 Feb 2013
Kenya: Ensure Violence-Free Polls
Human Rights Watch
09 Apr 2013
Kenya: New Leadership Should Uphold Rights and Obligations
Human Rights Watch
23 Apr 2013
Kenya: New Leaders Should Put Rights First
Human Rights Watch
23 May 2013
Kenya: Witnesses Describe Kisumu Killings by Police
Human Rights Watch
29 May 2013
Kenya: Police Abuse Nairobi’s Refugees
Human Rights Watch
09 Sept 2013
Kenya: Deputy President’s Trial at the ICC
Human Rights Watch
12 Sept 2013
Kenya: Don’t Expand Police Powers
Human Rights Watch
04 Oct 2013
Kenya: Rights Defenders Under Attack
Human Rights Watch
12 Nov 2013
Kenya: New Laws Would Undermine Basic Rights
Human Rights Watch
18 Nov 2013
ICC: Africa Should Reject ‘Free Pass’ for Leaders
Human Rights Watch
19 Nov 2013
ICC: Support Justice, Reject Immunity
Human Rights Watch
21 Jan 2014
Kenya: No Justice for Victims of Police Abuse
IBA
02 July 2014
IBA calls on Kenya to reaffirm the cardinal legal principle that no one is above the law
ICC
09 June 2011
Kenya: La Chambre préliminaire II de la CPI demande des observations sur la possibilité de tenir les audiences de confirmation des charges au Kenya
ICJ Kenya
01 Apr 2010
Pre Trial Chamber II's Decision on Kenya
ICJ Kenya
02 Dec 2011
High Court Decision on Al Bashir Arrest Warrant
ICJ Kenya
28 June 2013
Kenyan Civil Society organisations urge Government to Implement Convention Against Torture
ICJ Kenya
24 July 2013
Supreme Court summons LSK chair over the Presidential Election Petitions
ICJ-Kenya
27 Aug 2010
Kenya must arrest President Omar al Bashir
ICJ-Kenya
02 Dec 2011
High Court Decision on al Bashir Arrest Warrant
ICJ-Kenya
25 Jan 2012
PRESS STATEMENT: ICC CONFIRMATION DECISION
ICJ-Kenya
10 May 2012
Press Statement - Let the ICC Be
ICPC
10 Feb 2012
Response to William Ruto’s Intention to Return IDP’s Land
ICPC
28 Mar 2012
Cabinet Shuffle Signal final front to attack ICC and Major Rule of Law Reforms
ICPC
26 Apr 2012
Vetting Board Decision Good in Reforming the Judiciary in Kenya
ICPC
30 Apr 2012
EACJ AND THE QUESTION OF REFERRAL OF ICC CASES
ICPC
03 Oct 2012
Truth Commission overseen by perpetrators will not bring the country close to truth, justice and reconciliation
ICPC
11 Jan 2013
Killing Fields of Tana Delta, Elections and Police Reforms
ICPC
21 Mar 2013
Severe threat to freedom of Speech and Expression in Kenya
ICPC
24 Mar 2013
NEW GOVERNMENT SHOULD DEEPEN HUMAN RIGHTS AGENDA
ICPC
19 Apr 2013
ICPC's RESPONSE TO RUTO'S APPLICATION TO THE ICC TO WAIVE HIS RIGHT TO BE PRESENT DURING TRIAL
ICPC
06 May 2013
United Kingdom Undermines ICC; Impunity reigns in Kenya As Victims, gravely suffer
ICPC
24 July 2013
Why Ruto Should Be Impeached
ICPC
17 Sept 2013
Significance of ICC Trials in Ending Endemic Climate of Impunity in Kenya
ICPC
16 Oct 2013
Calls for Deferral or Stop of ICC Trials Inconceivable
ICPC
02 Dec 2013
Jubilee Regime Onslaught on Freedoms, Liberty, Devolution and Independent Institutions Must Stop
ICTJ
08 Sept 2010
“Kenya: New Constitution Major Step Towards Justice”
ICTJ
04 Mar 2011
Gabon, Nigeria, South Africa: Reconsider Support for Deferral of ICC Investigation in Kenya
ICTJ
16 Jan 2012
Kenya: Kiplagat’s Return to TJRC an Act of Impunity
ICTJ
23 Jan 2012
Kenya: ICC Decision a Reminder Victims Are Still Waiting for Justice
ICTJ
05 Oct 2012
Decision in Mau Mau Case Strengthens the Right to Reparations of All Victims of Torture
ICTJ
24 May 2013
ICTJ Welcomes Kenya's TJRC Report
ICTJ
03 Oct 2013
ICTJ to Kenya’s High Court: Uphold Victims’ Rights to Truth, Justice
ICTJ
19 May 2014
Kenya TJRC Final Report Deserves Serious Analysis and Action
ICTJ
16 June 2014
ICTJ Study Shows Government Inaction on Sexual Violence Committed During Kenya’s 2007 Electoral Crisis
International Center for Policy and Conflict
Jan 2012
Failure to Confirm Charges Does Not Exonerate The Hague Six
International Crisis Group
09 Jan 2012
Kenya: Impact of the ICC Proceedings
International Crisis Group
17 Jan 2013
Kenya’s 2013 Elections
International Crisis Group
15 May 2013
Kenya After the Elections
International Federation for Human Rights, Kenya Human Rights Commission
09 Sept 2013
Beginning of ICC Trial against Ruto and Sang is a Historical Opportunity for Victims and for the Kenyan Society to Face the Truth and Find Justice
Kenya Human Rights Commission
16 Oct 2013
The ICC Process Must Continue: A Call to Support the Cause of Justice and Accountability
Kenyan Asian Forum
08 Mar 2011
Anti-ICC campaign by a Coalition partner in the Government of Kenya
Kenyans for Peace Truth and Justice (KPTJ)
27 Aug 2010
President Bashir’s presence at promulgation ceremony a show of impunity by the Executive
NPWJ
01 Apr 2010
NPWJ WELCOMES LAUNCH OF ICC INVESTIGATION AS AN IMPORTANT STEP TOWARDS ENDING IMPUNITY IN KENYA
NPWJ
27 Aug 2010
Kenya Must Arrest President Omar al-Bashir
NPWJ
15 Dec 2010
Accountability for post-election violence in Kenya: ICC Prosecutor today requests summons to appear for 6 individuals
NPWJ
09 Mar 2011
Accountability for post-election violence: Cooperation with the ICC is Kenya’s best option
NPWJ
30 Aug 2011
ICC complementarity not an alibi for impunity
NPWJ
05 Sept 2013
Kenya: withdrawal from the ICC is a shameful embrace of impunity
NPWJ
11 Sept 2013
Kenya: ICC trial is a landmark step to end impunity for politically-motivated mass crimes
NPWJ
02 Oct 2013
NPWJ says EU should push Kenya to cooperate with ICC
NPWJ
15 Nov 2013
Enough talk of deferral: Let the rule of law prevail for Kenya
Nigerian Coalition for the ICC
09 Sept 2013
NCICC CONDEMNS KENYAN PARLIAMENT’S DECISION TO WITHDRAW FROM ICC
No Peace Without Justice
01 Sept 2011
International Justice Needs Local Hearings
No Peace Without Justice
23 Jan 2012
ICC: NPWJ welcomes ICC ruling to commence trials for Kenyan post-election violence
PGA-RDC
28 Aug 2010
Le Groupe National de l'Action Mondiale des Parlementaires (PGA) en RDC condamne la visite du président soudanais et l'absence de son arrestation au Kenya
TRIAL
27 July 2012
Closing the Impunity Gap in Kenya: the Human Rights Committee demands accountability for the human rights violations committed in Mount Elgon
UCICC
09 Sept 2013
UCICC responses to media on Kenya's threat to withdraw from RS
UCICC
09 Sept 2013
UCICC media statement on Kenyan VP Ruto's trial opening
UCICC/Hurinet-U
27 Aug 2010
Hurinet-U and the UCICC press release on President Al Bashir's visit to Kenya
Quotes and Statements