NOTE FROM THE FIELD: Complementarity in Action: The Role of Civil Society and the ICC in Rule of Law Strengthening in Kenya Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2011 Yale Human Rights & Development Law Journal 
Yale Human Rights & Development Law Journal

NOTE FROM THE FIELD: Complementarity in Action: The Role of Civil Society and the ICC in Rule of Law Strengthening in Kenya


Yale Human Rights & Development Law Journal

14 Yale H.R. & Dev. L.J. 205


Christine Bjork+ and Juanita Goebertus++


Since Kenya reinstated multi-party politics in 1991, the country has experienced violence before and during elections. 1 By the end of 2007, yet another election crisis had materialized in Kenya. Disputed presidential election results triggered protests and violence reinforced by ethnic tensions. This time, however, the violence was more widespread; it was urban as well as rural, affecting a majority of the Kenyan provinces, and was more deadly and destructive than ever before. Ultimately, 1,133 people were killed, many more injured, and thousands of private and public properties were burned, pillaged, or destroyed, causing massive internal displacement. 2

The 2007-2008 post-election violence did not emerge out of a vacuum. While the pre-election violence was mainly a clash between supporters of different candidates in response to the perceived rigging of elections, the post-election violence had a distinct ethnic dimension. 3 In previous elections, Kenyan politicians have used ethnic division to fuel political support for their own ethnic groups. 4 There is a widespread and common belief that Kenyan presidents favor their own ethnic groups. 5 The growth of presidential power and the lack of checks and balances on the government have led to the conviction that one's own group must be in power in order to have access to resources, especially land. 6 The pattern of unprosecuted election violence has contributed to a culture of impunity, which, together with poverty and unemployment, has led youths to be willing to take up arms as "mercenaries" on behalf ...
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