by Ray Fleming

IT is now almost exactly three years since Kenya erupted into racial violence which left 1'200 dead and 500'000 displaced from their homes, following an election whose fairness was disputed.

In a few violent and bloody weeks Kenya's reputation as one of the most successful modern multi-cultural nations to emerge from colonialism was destroyed. President Kibai and prime minister Odinga patched up their political differences with an agreement to share power which has worked reasonably well. However, yesterday's intervention by the International Criminal Court may well reopen the wounds of 2008.

The ICC exists to investigate unresolved cases of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes; its report on the Kenyan massacres names six highly placed Kenyan politicians, some of them still holding office, who are said to have played a leading role in the events of 2008. Among them are the deputy prime minister Uhuru Kenyatta and the cabinet secretary Francis Muhaura.

The ICC has been in existence for eight years and has instituted five trials at The Hague but to date has not obtained a conviction. The Sudanese prime minister Omar al-Bashir has been accused of three acts of genocide, two war crimes and five crimes against humanity -- most of them in Darfur. He can only be arrested if he visits one of the 114 countries which recognise the ICC. Kenya is one of these and developments there may be as important to the ICC as to Kenya itself.

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