Monday, November 9, 2009
The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has announced that he will ask the tribunal to open an investigation into the deadly post-election violence in Kenya in December 2007 and January 2008.
Luis Moreno-Ocampo, speaking after a meeting this week in Nairobi with President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, said he would make a formal request to the ICC next month.
"There is a reasonable basis to believe that the attacks against Kenyan civilians during the post-election violence constitute crimes against humanity under the ICC''s jurisdiction," he said yesterday.
Article 7 of the Rome Statute, under which the ICC operates, defines a crime against humanity as "a widespread or systematic attack directed against the civilian population."
Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said Mr. Kibaki and Mr. Odinga, who agreed to serve in a power-sharing administration following the vio
lence, had promised to cooperate with any investigation.
The ICC also announced yesterday that it has assigned three judges to a pre-trial chamber to deal with the Kenyan issue.
Ethnic violence engulfed the East African country after disputed elections at the end of 2007 and, following an inquiry, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan submitted sealed materials about possible crimes to Mr. Moreno-Ocampo earlier this year.
Under the ICC''s complementarity principle, the tribunal only intervenes if there are no national proceedings against those responsible for the crimes.
Once Mr. Moreno-Ocampo makes a formal request to the ICC''s pre-trial chamber, the court can agree to allow a case to go ahead, reject it or ask for more information.
In a press release yesterday the prosecution said that "ICC proceedings should go hand in hand with complementary investigations and prosecutions at the national level as well as healing and reconciliation processes.
"These three tracks would complement each other. Kenyans could provide an historic example for the world in how to address and prevent massive crimes."
The ICC is an independent, permanent court that investigates and prosecutes persons accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. It is based in The Hague in the Netherlands.