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International Criminal Tribunals as Actors of Domestic Change

The Impact on Media Coverage, Volume 2

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Edited By Klaus Bachmann, Irena Ristić and Gerhard Kemp

Do International Criminal Tribunals trigger social change, provide reconciliation, stabilize fragile post-conflict societies? Many authors claim they do, but they base their assumptions mainly on theoretical considerations and opinion polls. The editors and authors of this book take a different position: based on extensive field research in nine European and African countries, they examine whether tribunal decisions resulted in changes in media frames about the conflicts which gave rise to the creation of these tribunals. International Tribunals hardly ever shape or change the grand narratives about wars and other conflicts, but they often manage to trigger small changes in media frames which, in some cases, even lead to public reflexion about guilt and responsibility and more awareness for (the respective enemy's) victims. On an empirical basis, this book shows the potential of International Criminal Justice, the possibilities, but also the limits of International Criminal Tribunals. Volume 2 presents the evidence from Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan and South Sudan.

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Framing post-election violence in Kenya

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The violence which erupted in the aftermath of the 2007 presidential election in Kenya was the first incidence of this kind. Earlier elections had triggered violence, too, but that time, the scope of violence exceeded all previous conflicts after Kenya’s independence from British rule. However, it would also be premature to see the post-election violence (PEV) in 2007 as only an extension or, worse, as the natural consequence of earlier conflicts. The violence was rooted in party politics as much as in ethnic divisions among the population.

Kenyan elections have only partly been shaped by ethnic cleavages and identity politics, and the party system does not directly reflect the ethnic affiliations of the population, although ethnic affiliations and identity politics dominated the post-colonial political system.

During the final phase of British rule in Kenya, the Kikuyu ethnic group, the largest one in the country, had borne the thrust of the liberation struggle and had become generally associated as the political force, which dominated the Mau-Mau uprising against the colonial center. After independence, the smaller ethnic groups, such as the population of the coastal area, the Luo, the Luhya, and the Kalenjin, gathered in one political organization, the Kenyan African Democratic Union (KADU), in order to withstand the domination of the Kikuyu-led Kenyan African National Union (KANU). Whereas KANU preferred a centralized post-colonial state, in which the party would be able to dominate the others, KADU promoted decentralization and regionalism in order to accommodate the...

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