ICC to present cases against instigators of Kenya post-election violence

[JURIST] International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] on Tuesday announced plans to present two cases [statement, PDF] against as many as six individuals who "bear the greatest responsibility" for the violence following the 2007 Kenyan presidential election [JURIST news archive]. In March, the ICC's pre-trial chamber granted [press release] the chief prosecutor authority to launch the investigation into crimes against humanity committed during the post-election period. The announcement of Moreno-Ocampo's intent to prosecute those who planned and executed the post-election violence comes just days after Kenya's Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo was heavily criticized for suggesting [Daily Nation reports] that with the passage of its new constitution [JURIST report], Kenya can better handle the prosecution of those responsible than the ICC. In his statement, Moreno-Ocampo said Kilonzo had confirmed his "personal commitment to do justice for the victims of the post election violence" and hopes "the Kenyan justice system will ultimately deal with the many perpetrators that the ICC will not prosecute."

In June, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] called on Kenya to establish a special tribunal [JURIST report] to investigate post-election crimes. In her statement [text], Pillay called the investigation into the deadly violence by the ICC a "major development." She warned, however, that the ICC's role would be limited to a handful of high-profile cases, which is why the need for a more wide-reaching investigation remains. The allegations of fraud [JURIST report] following the 2007 elections led to violence that caused the deaths of more than 1,000 people and displacement of 500,000 others, and remains a concern in the international community. The ICC initiated a formal investigation into the violence after Kenya failed to conduct [JURIST report] its own investigation. In March, Moreno-Ocampo submitted the names of 20 senior political and business leaders [JURIST report] who allegedly "bear the gravest responsibility" for the post-election violence. The ICC's decision to authorize the prosecutor's investigation means that Kenyan leaders may be called before the court.

 

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