ICC to probe into Kenya’s ethnic violence

Last Updated: Thursday, April 1, 2010 - 23:35

United Nations: The Hague-based
International Criminal Court has given the green signal for a
probe into the ethnic violence following the disputed
elections in Kenya two years ago.

The judges of the ICC have given its prosecutor Luis
Moreno-Ocampo the go-ahead for investigating the post election
ethnic violence in Kenya.
"Now that the opening of the investigation has been
authorised, I will travel to Kenya in May," Moreno-Ocampo
said.

"I will meet with those who suffered from the
violence, and I will visit some of the crime scenes. I will
listen to the victims, respect their views and request justice
for them in Court," he added.

In December 2007, ethnic violence erupted between
Kikuyus and Luos after Mwai Kibaki was declared winner over
opposition leader Raila Odinga in a disputed election. Kibaki
now serves as the President and Odinga is the prime minister.

It is estimated that around a 1,000 Kenyans were
killed and 300,000 displaced.
In November 2009, the prosecutor asked the ICC for
authorisation to investigate the episode of intense violence
and in March he submitted a list of suspects to the court.

"There is a list of 20 suspects, but it is not
binding. We envision at least two cases against one to three
persons in each case," Moreno-Ocampo said, adding "We will
focus on those most responsible according to the evidence that
will be impartially collected.?

This is the fifth African country to be dealt with by
the ICC, which is currently investigating and pursuing
prosecutions in Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan
and the Central African Republic.

In 2009, the ICC issued its first arrest warrant for a
sitting head-of-state, Sudanese President Omar-al Bashir, for
alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Darfur
conflict.

"The information available provides a reasonable basis
to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed on
Kenyan territory," the court said. The majority, moreover,
found that all criteria for the exercise of the Court?s
jurisdiction were satisfied, to the standard of proof
applicable at this stage.
In his dissenting opinion, Judge Hans-Peter Kaul held
that the crimes committed in Kenya do not qualify as crimes
against humanity under the jurisdictional ambit of the
Statute. Kenya became a party to the ICC in 2005.

"The judges decided. There will be justice in Kenya,"
Moreno-Ocampo said.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, April 1, 2010 - 23:35

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