[JURIST] Kenya has urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] to dismiss the cases [motion, PDF] against six senior Kenyan leaders accused [materials] of committing crimes against humanity and contributing to the 2007-2008 post-election violence [JURIST news archive]. Kenyan authorities last week emphasized that “the ICC’s jurisdiction [is] complementary to national criminal jurisdictions” and argued that, with its new constitution and reformed judicial system, Kenyan officials are capable of prosecuting the cases domestically:
The adoption of the new Constitution and associated reforms has opened the way for Kenya to conduct its own prosecutions in Kenya for the post-election violence in respect of persons at the highest levels of authority and for the most serious crimes…The recent and current initiatives have all been designed and adopted to cure problems, or shortcomings, of the past. They demonstrate that the time is ripe for Kenya to exercise jurisdiction which the ICC should yield.
The ICC on Monday announced that its judges will review Kenya’s motion [press release], but that under the Rome Statute [official website], the judges are not required to reach a decision within any specific period of time. The trial will continue while the motion is under review, with the accused leaders scheduled to appear [HJP report] before the court next week.
In December, ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] identified the six suspects [JURIST report], including current Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and several Ministry heads. All six are believed to have fomented violence, rape and destruction of property during the 30 days of post-election violence, but they have not yet been charged in Kenya for the alleged crimes. Last month, Moreno-Ocampo warned the six Kenyan suspects that arrests would ensue if they did not comply with the court’s conditions [JURIST report]. The warning followed a summons [JURIST report] issued by the ICC earlier that month for the suspects to appear before the court on April 7 for an initial hearing. The Kenyan government also announced last month that it would challenge the admissibility of cases [JURIST report] relating to the post-election violence in the ICC, as well as the jurisdiction of the court.