The ICC’s decision to put senior Kenyan politicians on trial also sends a signal to other leaders, from Yemen to Ivory Coast, that political violence may not be ignored.

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“Today is accountability day for Kenya,” declared International Criminal Court chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, addressing the six Kenyans suspected of masterminding the post-election violence that killed more than 1,200 people at the start of 2008.

“Accountability day” has been a long time coming. “Finally we’ve begun the process of cleansing the nation,” says Mutahi Ngunyi, a Nairobi-based political scientist. “In the past we’ve always caught the small fish. But this time round we’re frying the big fish. It’s therapeutic for the people of Kenya.”

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