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ICC prosecutor seeking formal investigation into Kenya post-election violence

[JURIST] International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] on Thursday announced that he will ask the ICC to open a formal inquiry into violence perpetrated in the wake of Kenya's 2007 presidential elections [JURIST news archive]. Following a meeting to discuss the ICC inquiry with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki [official profile] and opposition leader Raila Odinga [campaign website], Moreno-Ocampo said that crimes against humanity committed during the post-election period justify an ICC investigation.

I consider the conflict in Kenya were crimes against humanity and I consider, that, therefore, the gravity is there, so therefore I should proceed. So I informed them in December I will request to the judges of the International Criminal Court to open an investigation.

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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