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Kenya leaders: ICC prosecutors failed to investigate evidence

Defense counsel for three Kenyan leaders charged in the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] with inciting violence after the December 2007 Kenyan elections [JURIST news archive] argued Wednesday that prosecutors had not fully investigated evidence that they planned to present at trial. Defense counsel argued that witnesses for the prosecution were motivated by greed [AFP report] and that the charges against the three men should be dropped. The prosecution contends that Francis Kirimi Muthaura, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and Mohammed Hussein Ali, members of the Party for National Unity (PNU), conspired with the Mungiki criminal organization [Safer Access Backgrounder, PDF] to attack members of the opposing Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) [party website]. The three Kenyan leaders are charged along with three others, collectively known as the "Ocampo Six," [ICC materials] for their roles in the post-election violence that resulted in over 1,100 deaths, 3,500 injuries, hundreds of rapes and up to 600,000 people being forcibly displaced from their homes.

The Ocampo Six 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 ODM and the other three are members of the opposing party, the PNU. The ODM suspects are charged with fomenting violence against PNU supporters following the 2007 elections because they believed the election of Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki [official profile], the PNU candidate, to be rigged. In response, the PNU suspects are charged with the conspiring with the Mungiki to attack members of the ODM party. Kenya officially appealed the ICC's decision to exercise jurisdiction [JURIST report] over the cases in June after originally requesting that the ICC dismiss the case [JURIST report] in April. Also in April, lawyers for the Ocampo Six called for the timely release of evidence [JURIST report] against their clients while the prosecution argued that it was necessary to partially redact portions of the evidence in order to protect witnesses from intimidation. The ICC summoned the suspects [JURIST report] after determining that the Kenyan government was unwilling to charge them for their alleged crimes.

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