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UN rights experts condemn Kenya violence against protesters and journalists

[JURIST] A group of UN human rights experts on Thursday condemned [press release] reported violence [The Star report] against anti-corruption protesters and journalists in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi last week. The experts criticized what they called "a violent clampdown on a peaceful protest," which stemmed from allegations [BBC report] that funds meant for HIV and maternal healthcare programs had been misappropriated. Experts from the UN suggested that the violent response to the protest, including the use of teargas, batons and water cannons, may have violated international law. The experts were also alarmed at the timing of the "violent clampdown," expressing concern that the government might be trying to influence presidential elections that are scheduled for August 2017. A local newspaper reported [The Standard report] that 13 people were arrested following the protest, but there were no immediate reports of injuries.

The International Criminal Court [website] has investigated Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta [website] for violence against protesters in the past. The ICC's investigation and prosecution of the Kenya Situation [ICC backgrounder] has been ongoing since 2010. Last year the ICC withdrew charges [JURIST report] against Kenyatta, who was accused of crimes against humanity for post-election violence, but indicated it would renew the charges if presented with enough evidence. In response to the charges against Kenyatta, the African Union unanimously resolved [JURIST report] in 2013 that African heads of state should be immune from prosecution by the ICC. Also in 2013 Kenya's National Assembly approved a motion [JURIST report] to leave the ICC.

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