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ICC prosecutor warns Kenya suspects will be arrested if court rules not followed

Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] on Monday warned the six Kenyans suspected of inciting the 2007-2008 post-election violence [JURIST news archive] that arrests would ensue if they did not comply with the court's conditions. The warning follows a summons [JURIST report] issued by the ICC last week for the suspects to appear before the court on April 7 for an initial hearing. All six are believed to have fomented violence, rape and destruction of property during the 30 days of violence after the election. In December, Moreno-Ocampo identified the six suspects, which include current Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and several ministry heads. Due to concerns over witness interference, the court granted the requests for conditions that prohibit the suspects from threatening the witnesses or influencing any witness through corrupt measures. The ICC judges, however, rejected the prosecutor's request that would prohibit the suspects from having contact with one another. Moreno-Ocampo still suspects that abuse of governmental power could negatively affect the case and intends to further investigate several of the ministry heads' involvement with the Kenyan police and the witness protection program.

The Kenyan government has announced that they will challenge [JURIST report] the admissibility of cases [press release] relating to the post-election violence as well as the jurisdiction of the court. In December, the Kenyan Parliament [official website] approved a motion to withdraw [JURIST report] the country from the ICC. In November, the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights, which implicated former Cabinet minster William Ruto of interfering with the ICC investigation, denied accusations that it had bribed witnesses [JURIST report]. Moreno-Campo had also said that the court will not use testimony [JURIST report] from three Kenyan witnesses who claim they were bribed to provide false evidence against a high-ranking government official. In September, Kenyan businessman Joseph Gathungu filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality [JURIST report] of the ICC investigation into the post-election violence.

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