Getting Justice: Kenya’s deadly game of wait and see

Seminar date: 
11 November 2009

Together with Hivos.

A 56 min documentary on the justice options for Kenya, following the 2007 General Election disaster. Anchor Maina Kiai takes to the road to talk to ordinary Kenyans in an engaging docu-dialogue style, as well as getting the views of key players and experts. This documentary uses testimonial-style interviews with victims of violence; creative archive use; and on-the-road group discussions.

Maina Kiai, one of Africa's leading human rights activists, takes a look at the options for justice in Kenya. Should the International Criminal Court step in and try perpetrators of the violence triggered by the 2007 General Election disaster - or is a local solution better?
Kiai takes to the road to meet victims and perpetrators and look at the cruelties and frustrations of the Kenyan justice machinery, particularly the police. Kenya's coalition government is hostile to holding trials now that both sides of the conflict are comfortably sharing power: but most Kenyans don't trust their own judiciary and want the ICC to step in. Whose call is it going to be?
Moving stories from survivors - representing different sides of the conflict - talk about the events they suffered. And Kiai appeals directly to his Kenyan viewers: "We're all guilty of avoiding the truth....we need to hold people accountable for the violence and start behaving like a nation again."
There are lessons from other countries that have looked into the abyss, too, like Rwanda, which used both national and international trials. Avoid impunity, restore victims, and have a strong, unified sense of history, is the message. "We should worry just how far Kenya is from achieving this," the viewer is warned.
At the The Hague, Kiai talks to Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo. "The Kenyan authorities have asked me to step in if they are unable to prosecute....We are waiting to investigate" says Ocampo. "Why? Some people think that's just too slow." responds Kiai.
This frightening sketch of a troubled state at a decisive moment warns of the disaster coming if Kenyan's don't "do this right" and get justice.

Mr Maina Kiai is an independent human rights expert from Kenya. He has held leading positions in that field. He has been the Chairperson of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), an independent state body charged with protecting and promoting human rights in Kenya. In that capacity he addressed the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, early 2008, on the subject of post-election violence in Kenya. Previously, he served as founding Executive Director of the NGO Kenya Human Rights; as Africa Director at Amnesty International in London; as Africa Director at the International Human Rights Law Group (now Global Rights) in Washington DC.