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ICC judges seek additional information on Kenya post-election violence investigation

[JURIST] Judges from the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] Pre-Trial Chamber II requested Friday that chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] provide additional information [press release] regarding his request to open a formal investigation [JURIST report] into allegations of crimes against humanity committed during the 2007-2008 post-election violence in Kenya [JURIST news archive]. The judges stated that clarification and additional information was necessary to properly exercise their review function authorized under Article 15 of the Rome Statute [text]. Moreno-Ocampo's submission to investigate the Kenyan situation is historic, in that it is the first time he has used his proprio motu power, which allows him to initiate formal investigations upon authorization by the Pre-Trial Chamber. All other investigations conducted by the prosecutor have been at the behest of state parties [materials] or the UN Security Council [official website].

The ICC assigned three judges [JURIST report] to the Kenyan situation in November after receiving a letter from Moreno-Ocampo in which he said that he intended to request formal authorization to initiate an investigation. 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 in November, 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. Moreno-Ocampo first stated his intentions [JURIST report] to pursue the matter in October, citing Kenya's ratification of the Rome Statute 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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