ICC asks for more data for Kenyan violence probe
The International Criminal Court (ICC), right, today asked for additional information as it decides whether or not to go forward with an investigation into the deadly post-election violence clashes which rocked Republic of Kenya in December 2007 and January 2008.
Friday, 19 February 2010
Last November, ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, right, sought authorization from the Court’s pre-trial chamber to open an investigation into the ethnic violence that erupted following the disputed polls in which President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner over opposition leader Raila Odinga, now the Prime Minister. Following an inquiry, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan submitted sealed materials about possible crimes to Mr. Moreno-Ocampo in early 2009.
Judges from the pre-trial chamber today asked the prosecutor for extra information on the incidents likely to be the focus of an investigation, the groups of people likely to be scrutinized, and any investigations being carried out domestically with regard to potential cases. They also requested clarification on the linkages between the events, people and acts of violence allegedly committed in Kenya on the one hand, and the policies of a State and organizations on the other.
The prosecutor, who met with both Mr. Kibaki and Mr. Odinga late last year, said that “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.” 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.” Kenya became a State Party to the Statute in June 2005 and is now under the jurisdiction of the ICC if genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity are committed within its territory or by its citizens. Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said Mr. Kibaki and Mr. Odinga, who agreed to serve in a power-sharing administration following the violence, had promised to cooperate with any investigation. Under the ICC’s complementarity principle, it can only intervene if there are no national proceedings against those responsible for the crimes.
In a press release issued last November, 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 Hague-based ICC is an independent, permanent court that investigates and prosecutes persons accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Currently, four situations are under investigation by the prosecutor: the Darfur region of Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Uganda and the Central African Republic (CAR).