International court to investigate Kenyan crimes against humanity
Mar 31, 2010, 20:38 GMT
The Hague - The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Wednesday authorized Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo to investigate crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Kenya after the country's disputed 2007 presidential elections.
In a statement, the ICC said a majority of judges had responded positively to Moreno-Ocampo's November 26 request, saying 'the information available provides a reasonable basis to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed on Kenyan territory.'
More than 1,000 people died and hundreds of thousands were displaced during weeks of violence that erupted after President Mwai Kibaki's election, in December 2007.
During a visit to Nairobi in November, Moreno-Ocampo said he intended to prosecute only 'those most responsible for the most serious crimes.'
Kenya has shown little willingness to prosecute those responsible for the violence, but has agreed to provide the ICC with confidential information about the incidents.
The ICC is the world's first permanent international court tasked with prosecuting war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Since the beginning of operations, in 2002, it has investigated crimes committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, the Central African Republic and Sudan's western Darfur region.
Wednesday's decision, which judges endorsed by a 2-1 majority, means this is the first time that the ICC's chief prosecutor is able to carry out an investigation on his own initiative.
Previous cases were either referred by member states or by the UN Security Council.
Moreno-Ocampo planned to hold a press conference on his investigation on Thursday.