Käte Hamburger Dialogue
Elections, Violence and International Criminal Justice: The Case of Kenya
15th April 2013
With an interesting participant mix of academics, students and policy-makers, the first Käte Hamburger Dialogue took place successfully in Bonn.
The first Käte Hamburger Dialogue “Elections, Violence and International Criminal Justice: The Case of Kenya” on 15 April brought together international experts to discuss the process and outcome of Kenya’s 2013 elections. Kenya’s recent election raises numerous questions on the actions of the international community and domestic actors since the crisis in 2007/2008. After the close election victory of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto, at the end of March the Supreme Court of Kenya declared the elections free and fair and therefore confirmed Uhuru Kenyatta as the country’s next president. Kenyatta will become the second office-holding president in Africa to face charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC). He and Ruto are indicted by the ICC for committing crimes against humanity in the aftermath of the 2007 elections. The lively round of discussion with Dr. Ekuru Aukot, Dr. Gabrielle Lynch and Prof. Stephen Brown was competently chaired by Angelika Spelten, Senior Researcher at INEF.
Central elements of the debate are the questions of the implementation of the new Kenyan constitution and the reasons for the peaceful outcome of the elections. Prof. Brown, Senior Fellow at the Centre and Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa, raised the criticism that during this election peace and stability became more important to the international community as well as domestic actors than other principles – even more important than democracy. Dr. Lynch, Associate Professor at the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick, added that despite many irregularities there has been a reluctance to ask critical questions on many sides, e.g. the media, election observers and the jurisdiction, in order to avoid triggering of the violence. Another important issue within the discussion was the role of the ICC for the future developments in Kenya. Dr. Aukot, Advocate at the High Court of Kenya, emphasised that international criminal jurisdiction cannot be the opposite pole to democracy. At the end of the dialogue, Dr. Julia Leininger, Senior Researcher at DIE, pointed out in her wrap-up that the question “What does the ICC mean to Kenya?” should also be asked the other way round. Because asking “What does Kenya mean to the ICC?” can have important implications for the future of the ICC.
Date: 15th April 2013, 17 - 19:00h
Venue: German Development Institute (DIE), Tulpenfeld 6, Bonn
27 May 2014
The main purpose of the 2nd Käte Hamburger Dialogue, entitled “Religion and Politics in Post-Revolutionary Tunisia”, and of the ensuing in-house workshop was to reflect critically on current developments in Tunisia, especially on the negotiation and adoption of a new constitution by the Constituent Assembly. Representatives of different Tunisian social groups were therefore invited to provide various perspectives. In addition to these guests, film director Nadia El Fani presented her documentary “Laicité inch'allah” - a plea for a secular constitution and society in post-revolutionary Tunisia, giving the audience insight into the lives of Tunisians shortly before the revolution broke out.
The ‘Jasmin Revolution’ in Tunisia is considered to be a fundamental part of the social phenomenon known as the ‘Arab Spring’. Although initially successful in its main objective, the country has seen difficult times in the three years after the deposition of President Ben Ali.Tunisia’s first post-revolutionary constitution was drafted under the huge influence of the Islamic political party Ennahda, which received the majority of votes in the first election. Ennahda was accused by the secular political opposition of seeking to ‘islamise’ society and monopolise on the main positions of power in the state apparatus. The resulting deep societal split was eventually overcome in the framework of a National Dialogue, a new government and finally the adoption of the new constitution in January 2014.
After an introduction by Dr Nicole Renvert, the panellists of the 2nd Käte Hamburger Dialogue discussed their views on the role of religion and secularization in democratization processes with special reference to Tunisia. A lively Q&A session and heated debate between the audience and the plenary emerged. The dialogue was conducted in English and French.
Dr. Nicole Renvert, Postdoc Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research
Dr. Radwan A. Masmoudi (President, Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy, CSID),
Asma Nouira (Research Professor in Political Science and Secretary General of «l'observatoire tunisien de la transition démocratique», and
Dr. Markus Böckenförde, LL.M. (Executive Director, Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research)
Dr Mathieu Rousselin, Postdoc Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research
Nadia El Fani, Director of “Laicité inch'allah”
Venue: Wyndham Duisburger Hof Hotel, Duisburg Germany