Yesterday, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in the Hague announced the names of six Kenyans who he is seeking to indict for committing crimes against humanity in the violent aftermath of the December 2007 national elections. He claims that they not only instigated the violence, but in some cases had been planning for it for up to a year before the election took place; this violence left approximately 1,500 people dead and over 1/2 million people homeless (some of whom are STILL homeless). In a country where the elite are known to get away with just about anything, this is a big step towards ending the impunity they are used to. The Hague judges will now have to review the prosecutor's evidence to determine if he has a case; he also mentioned that there were many others involved in orchestrating the violence but there was not enough evidence to charge them at this time.
Of the six names, only one was a surprise to anyone. In regards to the other five, I haven't spoken to any Kenyan who didn't already think they were "thugs" or "crooks" of the worst kind, and in almost all of their cases they are in the middle of investigations for other crimes (such as fraud). So while it wasn't HUGE news, it was a HUGE day for Kenya...and when we woke up this morning there were no reports of any reactive violence happening in the predicted "hot spots" following the announcement. Maybe that is also a sign that Kenya is slowly but surely growing up.
The NY Times article about yesterday's announcement can be found here.
*note: blog title references the Seinfeld episode "The Race" from Season 6, when Elaine is dating a communist.