The former UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, says the International Criminal Court (ICC) should have kept Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto in jail while their case was being heard.
The two were indicted in connection with Kenya’s post-election ethnic violence in 2007-08, in which 1,200 people died.
The ICC dropped the charges against Kenyatta and Ruto in 2014 and 2016 respectively, citing a lack of evidence.
In an opinion piece in the Financial Times, Annan said the failure to place Kenyatta and Ruto behind bars enabled them to interfere with the court process and prevent crucial evidence from being obtained.
“The president and vice president were the ones in the dock and so they put lots of effort and resources into fighting the case,” he said.
Those maneuvers, he said, effectively caused justice to be defeated.
Annan cited the cases of former Congolese President Jean Pierre Bemba, former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo and former Liberia President Charles Taylor who were put in jail during their trials at the ICC, adding that a similar treatment should have been meted out to the Kenyan president and his deputy.
Annan also rejected claims that the ICC is biased against Africans in handling international cases, stressing that African leaders were not the only ones put into the dock.
Annan in 2008 brokered a power-sharing deal between the then Kenyan president, Mwai Kibaki, and the opposition leader, Raila Odinga, which ended the country's worst political crisis since independence.