April 25, 2014

Talk will look at Kenyan human rights abuse cases

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A discussion next week at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will look at whether the International Criminal Court in The Hague will succeed in trying the president of Kenya on human rights abuse allegations.

Uche Onyebadi, an assistant professor in the School of Journalism, will examine the issues involved in bringing Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, to trial during a brown bag seminar on Wednesday, April 30.  The seminar is from noon to 1 p.m. in the Communications Building, Room 1214.  William Freivogel, director of the School of Journalism, will serve as moderator and also discuss the issue.

The event is free and open to the public. Registration is not required but suggested for meal considerations.  Email Sherida Evans at sherida@siu.edu if you plan to attend.

Onyebadi said the discussion will center on the feasibility of Kenyatta standing trial while he is serving as president, along with the African Union’s response to the international court’s decision to summon one of its members to appear before it. The charges stem from ethnic violence that occurred in Kenya after elections in 2007 in which approximately 1,200 people died and 600,000 became displaced.

Neither Kenyatta nor the country’s current vice president, William Ruto, who is also standing trial, was in power at the time of the clashes and each backed opposing sides at the time of the 2007 election.  The two men formed an alliance in the 2013 election that brought them to power.  Both Kenyatta and Ruto deny the charges. Kenyatta’s trial is in October, according to media reports.

The School of Journalism is organizing this brown bag series event.