About the end of the month of July, Kenyan High Court Judge Mumbi Ngugi passed judgement ordering the Republic of Kenya t pay several former victims of ‘War on Terror’ related renditions something in the way of 250,000 US Dollars as damages. The ruling was in regard to a period in 2007-8 during Ethiopia’s military incursion into Somalia where they pushed the Al Shabaab out of Mogadishu.
The several people who filed the suit (some Kenyan, some from the wider East African region) were pretty much abducted from various parts of Kenya, handed over to Ethiopia’s occupying forces in Mogadishu and from there shipped to Addis, to suffer ‘enhanced interrogation’ on their alleged involvement in terrorism. Though it didn’t get much focus in the mainstream media, they’re too busy chasing after the horrors of an apparent outbreak of nationwide bestiality, as far as I know this is the first time in the third world that the legality of renditions of this nature has been condemned in the courts. At this point I want to thank one Al Amin Kimathi, and the Muslim Human Rights Commission for not letting this issue fade into oblivion.
These renditions, neither the first nor likely to be the last, have become an integral part of the so called ‘war on terror’ as fought on this side of the globe. In fact even as I write this piece, there are still Kenyans, picked upon on the request of the Uganda police, and shipped across the border, who are still languishing in Ugandan cells in connection, with the World Cup bombings. To the best of my knowledge these suspects have never been formally charged in court. There are also several reports over the years that have alleged that Kenya is one of several nations across the world to whom the U.S renders its own ‘terror suspects’ for ‘further interrogation.’ As far as I know none of the renditions exposed or otherwise has ever borne fruit in terms of convictions, unearthing valuable intelligence in the war on terror (that couldn’t have been secured by some other less messy means) or any such kind of thing. All they seem to be doing is showing up the whole war on terror thing as a means for the west and their client states (yes, the cold war might be over but Kenya is still a client state) to engage in the sort of prejudicial, fear driven, oppressive regime protecting tactics that were supposed to have become unnecessary because of the absence of the ‘global threat’ of a communist takeover.
Some would argue that in third world, that in the light of the failure of such, then the least the west could do in the name of ‘fighting terrorism,’ they could at least get the client states to abide by the fancy modern and apparently western virtues of due process, and following the courts, by at least getting the suspects formally extradited. There’s only so much money a government can afford in legal settlements whenever some fancy pants human rights lawyer rushes to court over renditions.
Strangely enough whilst, war on terror has been ongoing, will the renditions an all, there has been one notable attempt to use formal institutions, legal avenues and so forth by a western government pursuing Kenyans alleged to have committed crimes abroad. The case I am referring to is the ongoing attempt by the Island of Jersey to extradite former Minister of Finance, and Member of Parliament Chris Okemo, together with Former Kenya Power Managing Director James Gichuru, over allegedly laundering approximately 10.3 million USD they had gotten from bribes, kick backs and so forth whilst running the power utility, through the island’s banking system.
The extradition order was issues by the chief justice of Jersey in April of 2011, and to date the issue of whether Kenya should comply has yet to go to full trial, what with it having gotten mired in all manner of legal challenges to all manner of aspects of the case including one whether the Director of Public Prosecutions had the power to Prosecute the case. With these challenges finally overcome the full trial, with its own circuses, should finally commence soon.
Is it no wonder when urgent, security related intelligence demands the immediate seizure, interrogation and removal of ‘terror suspects’ nobody really wants to hear about due process?