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Rights group urges ICC to expand Kenya investigation

The International Criminal Court [official website] should expand its investigation [press release] into the disappearances and killings of more than 1,000 people leading up to Kenya's 2007 election [JURIST news archive], Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] said Thursday. The 48-page report [text, PDF], "'Hold Your Heart': Waiting for Justice in Kenya's Mt. Elgon Region," claims that, because the Kenyan government is not adequately investigating these crimes, the ICC should expand its current investigation [ICC materials] in hopes of bringing justice and closure to the victims' families. The ICC is already investigating post-election violence and is looking into six high ranking officials dubbed the "Ocampo Six." The first round of confirmation of charges hearings is coming to a close [Nairobi Star report] with the next round to begin soon. However, HRW claims this is not enough and recommends [text] that the court:

Analyze whether crimes falling within the ICC's jurisdiction were committed in Mt. Elgon and consider opening additional investigations in the Kenya situation currently before the ICC to bring to account persons most responsible for these crimes. The Office of the Prosecutor should consider in its analysis crimes committed by both the Sabaot Land Defence Force and Kenyan security forces.
The report calls on the ICC to hold the government and others accountable for the violence in the Mt. Elgon region leading up to the disputed election. It concludes that the victims should have access to the justice [text] they have been denied for three years.

The Ocampo Six are facing charges [JURIST report] for allegedly inciting violence during and after the December 2007 Kenyan elections. They include several high-ranking members of Kenya's government, the head of operations at Kass FM [official website] in Nairobi and the son of Kenya's first president, Jomo Kenyatta [Africa Within backgrounder]. Three of the men are members of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) [party website] and the other three are members of the opposing Party for National Unity (PNU). The ICC summoned the suspects [JURIST report] after determining they would not be charged in Kenya for the alleged crimes. In April, Kenya requested that the ICC dismiss the case [JURIST report], arguing that the government is capable of prosecuting the six men domestically. Lawyers for the Ocampo Six called for the timely release of evidence [JURIST report] against their clients that month as well.

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