International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] said Tuesday that he will continue to monitor post-election violence [statement] in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Moreno-Ocampo said that he is in the process of requesting information from DRC authorities and that he would investigate allegations of violence by government security forces as well as armed political groups. He emphasized that he will not depart from his November commitment to prosecute election violence [JURIST report]. Moreno-Ocampo warned political leaders of the consequences of continued violence:
Leaders from all sides must understand this: my Office is watching the situation in the DRC very closely. As we have shown in both Kenya and Cote d'Ivoire, planning and executing attacks on civilians for electoral gain will not be tolerated. This Court can investigate and prosecute you if you are responsible for committing ICC crimes, irrespective of position, and irrespective of political affiliation. I urge leaders, commanders, and politicians on all sides to calm your supporters. Electoral violence is no longer a ticket to power, I assure you. It is a ticket to The Hague.Moreno-Ocampo noted that he welcomed the investigation of violence by national authorities in the DRC and that his office would continue to monitor these efforts.
The DRC has faced significant international pressure to ensure fair elections and prevent election violence. Last week, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] urged the DRC government to prevent violence [JURIST report] after a report found that 18 civilians had been killed and about 100 seriously wounded during unrest following the presidential elections on November 28. Also last week, top UN officials with the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) [official website] decried [JURIST report] post-election violence in the DRC and called for restraint. MONUSCO urged all parties to remain calm and await the decision of the seven-member Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) on the preliminary results of the elections. Last month, Moreno-Ocampo said his office would prosecute individuals involved election violence in the DRC. The chief prosecutor's warning came just days after the UN Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) [official website] on urged the DRC government to take action to abolish election-related violence [JURIST report] before the presidential election on November 28.