ICC to probe into Kenya’s ethnic violence
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Last Updated: Thursday, April 01, 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.


First Published: Thursday, April 01, 2010, 23:35

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