Two years after the carnage, a glimmer of justice. International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said on Saturday that he believes he has a strong case against two or three high-profile figures suspected of orchestrating violence after Kenya's 2007 election.
"I'd like to be very clear: My policy is to prosecute those most responsible for the most serious crimes," he told reporters in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, after a two-day visit. "I think I have a strong case."
At least 1,300 people died and hundreds of thousands were displaced during months of tribal violence that followed the disputed presidential election in December 2007. Moreno-Ocampo said he believed that crimes against humanity had taken place during the violence and that in December he would ask judges to allow him to open an investigation.
During his visit, Moreno-Ocampo met President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who promised Kenya would meet its legal obligations under the Rome Statute, which established the court, and
back the investigation.
Kenya has so far shown little will to try suspects. Lawmakers refused to back a local tribunal, prompting former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to hand an envelope containing the names of politicians and businessmen accused of orchestrating the violence to the International Criminal Court.
Annan brokered the deal that led to Odinga, who accused Kibaki of stealing the elections, becoming prime minister and ended the violence.
Moreno-Ocampo said the trials could take place in Kenya or in Arusha, Tanzania, where the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has tried war crimes suspects.
Local courts would have to deal with the cases not being tried before the international court, the prosecutor said. An investigation by the court has huge public backing in Kenya, where many believe that local trials would see the rich and powerful escape unpunished.
Justice for the victims of the post-election violence is seen as one of the key elements required to prevent more bloodshed in 2012 when the next presidential elections are due. Moreno-Ocampo said for this reason he would ensure the court's investigation moved speedily.
"Everybody is worried about the next election in Kenya. That is why I understand the importance of speed," he said. "I am working to ensure that in 2010, we will be able to complete the investigation and define who is accused and who is to face justice."
Two commissions that investigated the violence recommended a raft of other changes to prevent a repeat of the chaos, including reforms to the police, judiciary and land policy.
However, reform has moved at a snail's pace. The United States is pressuring Kenya to implement the changes and has threatened travel bans for more than a dozen top Kenyan officials for obstructing reform.
Attorney General Amos Wako has so far been the only official to receive a ban although he has threatened to sue the US for defamation. Under Wako's watch, nobody has been brought to book for their role
in the violence and rampant corruption has gone unchecked.