[JURIST] The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Wednesday granted the request [decision, PDF] of chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] to investigate the deadly violence perpetrated after the 2007 Kenyan presidential election [JURIST news archive]. Earlier this month, Ocampo submitted the names [JURIST report] of 20 senior political and business leaders who allegedly "bear the gravest responsibility" for the post-election violence. The ICC's decision to authorize the prosecutor's investigation means that Kenyan leaders may be called before the court. Summarizing the decision [press release], the court explained:
upon examination of the available information, bearing in mind the nature of the proceedings under article 15 of the Statute, the low threshold applicable at this stage, as well as the object and purpose of this decision, the information available provides a reasonable basis to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed on Kenyan territory. The majority moreover found that all criteria for the exercise of the Courts jurisdiction were satisfied, to the standard of proof applicable at this stage.
The prosecutor will outline the next steps for the investigation in a press conference [press release] on Thursday.
Ocampo provided the list of 20 names after ICC judges requested last month that he provide additional information regarding his request to open a formal investigation [JURIST reports] into allegations of crimes against humanity. Ocampo's submission to investigate the Kenyan situation is historic, in that it is the first time he has used his proprio motu power, which allows him to initiate formal investigations upon authorization by the Pre-Trial Chamber. The allegations of fraud [JURIST report] following the 2007 elections led to violence that caused the deaths of more than 1,000 people and displacement of 500,000 others.