Kenya leaders accused of fuelling post-election violence

Kenyan political leaders organised and financed post-election attacks against civilians in 2008, the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) prosecutor told judges on Wednesday, as they consider whether to launch an investigation.

Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, who asked judges last November to approve an investigation into the violence, said senior political and business leaders from Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and President Mwai Kibaki’s Party of National Unity (PNU) were “guided by political objectives to retain or gain power”.

“They utilised their personal, government, business and tribal networks to commit the crimes,” Moreno-Ocampo said in a filing with pre-trial judges in The Hague.

“They implemented their policy with the involvement of a number of state officers and public and private institutions, such as members of the Parliament, senior government officers, the police force and youth gangs.”

The filing included a confidential list of 20 names of those “who appear to bear the gravest responsibility” for the crimes.

After Moreno-Ocampo’s request for an investigation, judges asked for more information on what happened and how it was linked to the state.

Moreno-Ocampo has in the past cited figures from Kenyan authorities that 1 220 people were killed, with hundreds of documented rapes and more than 350 000 forcibly displaced.

Under ICC rules, the presidency of the court assigns “situations” to pre-trial chambers. In order to launch a formal investigation into a situation, the office of the prosecutor must apply to the relevant chamber for permission.

Moreno-Ocampo requested an expedited decision on the application, though there is no timetable to authorise or reject a probe under court rules. — Reuters

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