In March, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda terminated the charges against President Uhuru Kenyatta, thereby marking the end of the case against him. Justice Hub’s sister site, The Hague Trials Kenya, spoke to “Marlow”, who worked in the team of lawyers, led by Fergal Gaynor, that represented the victims in the former Kenyatta case.
“When the ICC terminated the charges against Uhuru, it was a very low moment for me. It was a moment of despair. I really wanted the trial against Uhuru to be concluded. I felt that I had failed the victims, that I had let them down. You see, when I started working with victims, it is because I felt I needed to be the voice of the affected people and help tell their stories. I wanted the Court to know the victims and to listen to their voices. You know I was in Eldoret during the PEV, and I saw a lorry carrying dead bodies, some hanging, some dropping. I felt so bad. I knew I had to do something. So when I got the opportunity to work for the victims, I knew that I had to make a difference in their lives.
“In the 2 years I did this job, it was very fulfilling. I woke up every day, knowing I was going to help by speaking with the victims. I know speaking made very little difference to the desperate conditions of the victims, so I was humbled every time they would tell me, ‘thank you for listening to me, I have never had the chance to share my story.’
“When Bensouda withdrew the charges against Uhuru because the Kenyan government had refused to cooperate, I honestly thought the Court would indeed find that Kenya was guilty, and then Kenya would be referred to the Assembly of States Parties. I had so much hope. This last decision dimmed the last flame. Imagine how I felt, knowing that I had to inform the victims that this case was over.
“I feel crippled now, to be honest. I know it is not the end of the world. Looking back, I think we did a decent job with the leadership of Fergal Gaynor to voice the victims’ concerns, which I think will help other countries if they ever find themselves in a similar situation like Kenya.
“One of the saddest things a victim told me on the 13 March was ‘ I do not know what to say because I feel at this point I am going to die’. Can you imagine? Someone so sad that they do not see the point in living? This really struck me.
“I wish that Bensouda had done much more. That there should have been ongoing investigations apart from the preliminary investigations conducted by Ocampo. Bensouda kept speaking about bringing fresh charges against Uhuru. Oh well, I have a feeling that will not happen. To the best of my knowledge, she has taken no steps to begin this process, nothing has been done to show that she is seriously bringing a fresh case against Uhuru.
“Even as I continue with my life, I think of the victims every day – I still hope for justice for them.”
Lead image: ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda (Photo: Isaac Kasamani)