Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was invited to London to attend the Somalia Conference on 7 May, despite his indictment to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. During his three-day trip, Kenyatta also met with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague.
Kenyatta is charged with instigating murder, deportation, rape, persecution, and other inhumane acts in connection with the widespread violence that followed Kenya’s 2007-2008 presidential elections. During that time, thousands of cases of sexual violence were reported, often at the hands of gangs such as the ones which Kenyatta is accused of orchestrating. Currently, eight Kenyans are suing the government for failing to prevent sexual violence during the post-election period and, later, for neglecting to ensure cases are investigated and prosecuted.
In March 2013, Kenyatta was elected president of Kenya by a 50.07% margin amidst fears that violence would recur. The elections were monitored by UN observers for gang violence, rape, or other forms of coercion. In early May, the Kenyan government asked the United Nations to halt the ICC charges against Kenyatta. At the time, Cameron stated that his government would have only essential contact with Kenyatta if he were to win, but last week he defended the decision to meet with Kenyatta, saying that Kenya is playing a crucial role in fighting al-Shabaab in Somalia.
Kenyatta is cooperating with the ICC thus far, and he is due to appear before the court in The Hague in July. Before then, he will also attend the 21st Summit of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 26-27 May. The Summit will also be attended by President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, who is wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity and war crimes.
British PM Defends Uhuru UK Invitation, Afrique Jet, 10 May 2013.
Kenya Asks UN to Halt ICC Charges Against Kenyatta, BBC News, 9 May 2013.
Read more on post-election violence in Kenya from Pauline Kamau, Executive Director of the Greenbelt Movement.
Kenya's Rape Victims Fear Fresh Attacks with March 4 Election, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 1 March 2013.