Kenya justice minister denies challenge to ICC investigation

[JURIST] Kenyan Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo [official website] on Wednesday denied reports that he asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website; JURIST news archive] to stop its investigation into the violence following the 2007 Kenyan presidential election [JURIST news archive]. Kilonzo stated that his previous comments, regarding the ability of Kenyan courts to handle cases such as these under the new constitution [JURIST report], were taken out of context [Reuters report]. Kilonzo said that the government still supports the ICC investigation and his statement was merely expressing confidence in the Kenyan government's ability to conduct investigations in the future. Kilonzo acknowledged that the Kenyan courts are not ready to do so under the new constitution. The ICC and the Kenyan government have a signed agreement allowing the ICC to hold trials for those responsible for the violence. Kilonzo wants the ICC investigation to run parallel [KBC report] with the investigations being conducted by the Kenyan justice system.

Many influential Kenyans fear the potential outcome of the ICC investigations. Last week, Kenyan businessman Joseph Gathungu filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging the constitutionality of the ICC investigation, arguing that it is illegal under the new constitution. Also last week, ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] announced [JURIST report] plans to present two cases against as many as six individuals who "bear the greatest responsibility" for the violence. In June, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] called on Kenya to establish a special tribunal [JURIST report] to investigate post-election crimes. Pillay warned that the ICC's role would be limited to a handful of high-profile cases, which is why the need for a more wide-reaching investigation remains. 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, and remains a concern in the international community. The ICC initiated a formal investigation into the violence after Kenya failed to conduct [JURIST report] its own investigation.

 

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