Ocampo in Kenya: high hopes but low expectations

19 May 2010 by Thijs Bouwknegt & Eric Beauchemin

The Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno Ocampo, is back in The Hague after a five day trip to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. He was there to meet with victims of the violence that swept the country following disputed presidential elections in 2007.

In the space of four months, more than 1,300 people were killed and hundreds of thousands displaced. But after the dust settled, the Kenyan parliament voted down a bill to establish a national tribunal to prosecute those responsible for the killings, rapes and forced evictions that took place during the fighting.

Ocampo was keen to step in and as a signatory to the Rome Statute, Kenya accepts the ICC’s jurisdiction.
But the government chose not to send an official invitation to the court. At that point Ocampo took matters into his own hands and asked ICC judges for permission to start an investigation into possible crimes against humanity committed during the bloodshed.

In March of this year, the court granted his request and Ocampo immediately sent a team of investigators
to the East African country to find witnesses who could testify against their leaders.

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