Sonko's Plan to take PS Kibicho to ICC Over Kariobangi Evictions

  • Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko
    Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko
  • Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko on Wednesday, May 6 announced that he would be petitioning the International Criminal Court (ICC) to take action on Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho, Nairobi Regional Commissioner Wilson Njenga and Nairobi Police Commander Philip Ndolo.

    Sonko accused the three of undertaking the evictions in Kariobangi North, Nairobi on Monday, May 4, 2020, leaving thousands homeless during the pandemic.

    He further accused the police of brutality and killing people under the guise of enforcing the dusk to dawn curfew meant to curb the spread of Covid-19.

    Outlining provisions of the Rome Statute he believed had been violated, Sonko shared a draft of the petition as he disclosed that he had engaged a legal team to figure out his next course of action.

    Interior PS Karanja Kibicho addresses a summit in Mombasa on January 13, 2020.
    Interior PS Karanja Kibicho addresses a summit in Mombasa on January 13, 2020.

    He also put the government officials on the spot over the destruction of Sonko Rescue Team (SRT) sanitizer booths in various parts of the city, claiming that the police were destroying the structures in contravention of a court order he secured.

    Seeking to distance President Uhuru Kenyatta from the situation, Sonko claimed that the officials in his office were targeting Kenyans in low-income areas, particularly informal settlements in Nairobi.

    "The defendants have, jointly and through the police officers and officials under them, systematically been targeting and killing people during curfew time from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. within Nairobi City. Further, the defendants have been ordering the demolition and vandalism of installations across Nairobi City's informal settlements to stop the spread of Covid-19 infections, especially in congested areas where a majority of the population cannot afford or access water and sanitizers for regular hygiene. 

    "The defendants have also deployed intimidation and violence against humanitarian workers of the Sonko Rescue Team to stop them from giving emergency assistance from residents in informal settlements.

    "Finally, the defendants have been evicting and displacing populations during Covid-19 pandemic without justification, for example in Kariobangi North where thousands of Nairobi City residents were exposed to the deadly virus out in the cold with nowhere to go or forced to move to other neighbourhoods to put up with relatives against social distancing rules," the draft read in part.

    Sonko also claimed that the officials had effectively made it impossible for him to distribute donations which include hand sanitizers and face masks.

    He argued that by their actions, they were willingly contributing to the spread of the deadly virus and, therefore, deserved to be charged in court.

    He echoed the sentiments of Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior who had on Tuesday, May 5 stated that the government had committed an international crime as he observed that those evicted were at a greater risk of being infected with Covid-19.

    "What is happening in Nairobi, particularly the evictions, is a violation of human rights. What is happening in Nairobi, in the middle of a pandemic, is actually an international crime.

    "It's an international crime because those people are staying out in the cold, they are mixing with people whom they don't know if they are infected.

    "Something is wrong with this government. God needs to find something about this government, there's something wrong about how this government treats human beings. It's as if this government was elected by cows and goats," he stated on the floor of the Senate. 

    Sonko stated that it was within the ICC's jurisdiction to handle the case, maintaining that the actions were unacceptable. 

    Alluding to the officers' powerful positions in government, Sonko stated that he opted for the ICC route as there was little likelihood of securing justice in Kenya.

    "They (allegations) are of international concern and the magnitude of the effects of the defendant’s actions are deadly, but the prospect for him being held accountable at the national level is nil. Hence the need for opening an investigation, leading to defendants’ prosecution. The victims of defendants’ alleged crimes will be thousands and could be millions. 

    "There is no question the actions of the defendants will inevitably create a humanitarian crisis, the number of casualties from which will equal or exceed any genocide to have been presented to this Court," he wrote.

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