Elections, Violence and International Criminal Justice: The Case of Kenya

Event Type
1st Käte Hamburger Dialogue

Bonn, 15.04.2013


Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research (KHK/GCR21)
German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

The general elections in Kenya on 4 March 2013 have attracted much international attention. The victory of the Uhuru Kenyatta/William Ruto ticket on the first ballot, by the slimmest of majorities, took most observers by surprise. Though widespread violence did not break out this time, despite irregularities, the potential for conflict remains, notably in response to the courts’ decision on the validity of the results. If Kenyatta and Ruto assume office, they will soon after head to The Hague to face charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity committed in the aftermath of the 2007 elections. These events raise numerous questions on the actions of the international community and domestic actors since the crisis in 2007/2008 and how the scenario will play out under very tense circumstances. 

To follow this unfolding situation, the first Käte Hamburger Dialogue brought together German and international experts to discuss the process and outcome of Kenya’s 2013 elections as an example of the possibilities and limits of democracy promotion and violence prevention by the international community. In particular, it focused on the relationship and possible trade-offs between domestic stability, elections and international justice. Most recent developments in Kenya were put into the broader context of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) that Kofi Annan invoked in its preventive dimension during his mediation efforts in 2008.


17.00 h Welcome

  • Tobias Debiel, Director of KHK/GCR and of the Institute for Development and Peace (INEF)
  • Jörg Faust, Head of Department "Governance, Statehood, Security", German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

17.10 h Panel Discussion

  • Ekuru Aukot, Advocate at the High Court of Kenya, former Director and ex‐officio member of the Committee of Experts on the Review of the new Constitution of Kenya
  • Stephen Brown, Senior Fellow at KHK/GCR21 and Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Ottawa
  • Gabrielle Lynch, Associate Professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Warwick
  • Chair: Angelika Spelten, Senior Researcher at INEF and Team Member of FriEnt, Working Group on Peace and Development

18.00 h Discussion with the Audience

18.50 h Wrap up and Conclusion:

  • Julia Leininger, Senior Researcher and Regional Coordinator for Sub-Saharan Africa, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

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