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ICC to prosecute suspects for Kenya 2007 post-election violence

[JURIST] International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] announced [press release] Wednesday that the ICC will prosecute the most responsible parties for the December 2007 Kenyan post-election violence [JURIST news archive] now that Kenya's September 30 deadline to establish an appropriate tribunal has lapsed. Because Kenya is party to the Rome Statute [text, PDF], Moreno-Ocampo may prosecute suspects for crimes over which the ICC has jurisdiction. In a three-pronged approach, other perpetrators will be prosecuted in national accountability proceedings to be defined by the Kenyan government, while a truth and reconciliation commission will investigate the extent of the conflict and suggest ways to prevent similar violence in the future. Moreno-Ocampo said that "Kenya will be a world example on managing violence" through this three-pronged approach. In July, Moreno-Ocampo had said that the Kenyan government has the "the primary responsibility for investigating and prosecuting these crimes" and had "committed to refer the case to the ICC by June 2010" if it is unable to create an appropriate tribunal by September, as planned [JURIST report].

In August, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] called for an independent tribunal [JURIST report] with international support and participation because "the Kenyan judiciary lacks independence," and the necessary reforms announced [transcript] by the Kenyan Cabinet [official website] in late July would be insufficient. Also in July, Moreno-Ocampo received and reviewed a sealed envelope sent to the ICC [JURIST reports] by former UN secretary-general and current chairman of the AU Panel of Eminent African Personalities Kofi Annan [official website] that contained a list of suspects believed to be responsible for the post-election violence. Earlier this year, the Kenyan parliament rejected [JURIST report] the proposed document that Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki [official profile] and opposition leader Raila Odinga [campaign website] agreed to draft [JURIST report] to establish a new Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2009 [text, PDF], along with a Special Tribunal for Kenya Bill, 2009 [text, PDF] that would have set up a special domestic court to those allegedly responsible for the December 2007 post-election crimes that resulted in an estimated 1,500 deaths. Tens of thousands of protesters took to Kenya's streets accusing Kibaki of election fraud after early opinion polls suggested rival Odinga was in the lead.

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