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ICC assigns judges to Kenya post-election violence situation

[JURIST] The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] announced Friday that it has assigned [decision, PDF; press release] three judges to the situation involving the violence perpetrated in the wake of Kenya's 2007 presidential elections [JURIST news archive]. The decision came in response to a Thursday letter [text, PDF] from chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] in which he said that he intends to request formal authorization in December to initiate an investigation into the situation. Moreno-Ocampo may not begin a formal investigation until he receives the judges' authorization. The investigation may only proceed if Kenya does not conduct its own investigation into the matter, which it has thus far failed to do [JURIST report].

Earlier Thursday, Moreno-Ocampo met with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki [official profile] and opposition leader Raila Odinga [campaign website] to inform them of his plans to seek an investigation [JURIST report]. Moreno-Ocampo first stated his intentions [JURIST report] to pursue the matter in October, citing Kenya's ratification of the Rome Statute [text, PDF] as grounds for jurisdiction. 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. Earlier 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 African Union Panel of Eminent African Personalities Kofi Annan [UN profile] that contained a list of suspects believed to be responsible for the violence. More than 1,000 people were killed and 500,000 displaced following allegations of fraud [JURIST report] in the country's presidential election.

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