By Niklas Jakobsson
Uganda, Uganda and more Uganda. Kenya, Kenya and more Kenya. If you weren’t following the International Criminal Court on Thursday afternoon last week, that’s what the newsfeed looked like. In what can only be described as an overload of information, the public affairs unit at the Court decided to earn their salary for the full year in a matter of hours.
Let me recap what happened: the Court announced that it has terminated proceedings against LRA commander Okot Odhiambo, as it’s now been confirmed that he’s dead: Pre-Trial Chamber II submitted a filing, saying it supports holding the confirmation of charges hearing against another LRA commander, Dominic Ongwen, in Uganda. At this point, Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda issued her first statement of the day.
These two updates alone were noteworthy enough to warrant some substantial overtime for international justice observers. But, in a week that already handed us Ukraine extending additional jurisdiction to the Court, there was more to come.
A few weeks ago, I discussed the growing perception that Kenya is now back on the agenda in terms of the ICC. With the latest developments, it looks like we’ll be reading a lot more about Kenya in the months (or years) to come.
The addition of two new arrest warrants, and potentially new cases at the Court, gained substantial traction on social media. In Kenya, there were substantial reactions to the news, with people seeing this as yet another way for the ICC to keep a foothold in Kenya and Africa.
So that’s enough about Kenya at the ICC for a week, don’t you agree? Well, the Court, the defence teams and the prosecution disagree. In what can only be described as a major hint, Fatou Bensouda’s office submitted a ‘reminder’ that the judges in the Ruto/Sang case can change the modes of liability for accused journalist Joshua Sang.
The Kenyan cases and situation got massively overshadowed by Ukraine last week, but it’s clear that several issues were brought into the limelight yet again. To round up the week, the defence teams in Ruto/Sang were granted leave to appeal the trial chamber’s decision to allow evidence from witnesses that later recanted or altered their statements.
Kenya is most definitely back on the agenda, with several major developments within a week. It will be an interesting few weeks, as the defence team in the Ruto/Sang case will have to file their ‘no case to answer’ motion within two weeks. Although there are a lot of things still floating around, we are now seeing concrete steps forward in the Kenya situation.
- Which Kenya development do you think is the most substantial?
- Do you think the Ongwen confirmation hearings should be held in Uganda?
- Can the additional Article 70 warrants be seen as a statement from the Office of the Prosecutor?
Lead image: ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda (Photo: Peter de Jong/ANP)
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