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ICC prosecutor offers assistance in wake of Kenya shopping mall attack

International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website; JURIST backgrounder] chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda [official profile] on Tuesday offered to assist in prosecuting [text] those behind the Nairobi Westgate shopping mall attack. Somali Islamist group al-Shabab [BBC backgrounder] has claimed responsibility for the attack on Saturday, which resulted in at least 62 deaths and 175 injured persons [Kenya Red Cross fact sheet, PDF]. Bensouda's official statement declared that:

Such attacks by armed groups upon innocent civilians are contrary to international law and may constitute a crime under the Rome Statute, to which Kenya is a State Party. In expressing her solidarity with the victims, their families and the people of Kenya, and with full respect for the primacy of jurisdiction of the Republic of Kenya, the Prosecutor stands ready to work with the international community and the Government of Kenya to ensure that those responsible for these crimes are brought to justice.
Bensouda's offer comes after Kenya's National Assembly voted earlier this month to withdraw from the ICC [JURIST report], a move which has prompted criticism [JURIST op-ed].

The Westgate shopping mall attack affected the ongoing ICC trial of Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto [ICC materials; JURIST news archive], who requested and was granted [JURIST reports] a one-week postponement from the ICC so he can return to Kenya to deal with the attack. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] on Sunday condemned [JURIST report] the attack and urged the perpetrators to be brought to justice quickly. Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] also decried the attack on Monday, urging the Kenyan authorities to engage in a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation.

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