difficult-choicesAs Kenya’s elections approach in less than a fortnight, there is a real possibility that two people currently on trial before the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity following Kenya’s last elections could end up President and Vice President of the country. If this happens, Western countries will have to decide how to react, and in particular whether to apply sanctions and if so what sort of sanctions.

The US is in an awkward position because it is not a member of the International Criminal Court; if it were, some of the military actions by US leaders over the past decade might become the subject of ICC scrutiny. On the other hand, it would be a grave affront to Western sensibilities if those accused of being the ringleaders in Kenya’s post-election violence were not only to escape any form of punishment but were in fact to take over as rulers of the country.

Zimbabwe has been reduced to penury as an international pariah because of the international community’s distaste for Robert Mugabe, and a similar form of isolation could be applied to Kenya; however,  the US and Europe have strategic military and commercial interests in Kenya, and it is unlikely that they will be keen to abandon them.

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