ICC, Kenya, discuss investigations after 2007 poll violence

3rd September 2010, Comments 0 comments

The International Criminal Court held talks with Nairobi Friday about cooperation following the investigations into violence in Kenya after disputed 2007 elections, the court said.

ICC registrar Silvana Arbia and Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula exchanged letters that "open the way to effective work by the court in Kenya", the ICC, based in The Hague, said in a statement. The court prosecutor looks into crimes against humanity and war crimes.

"I have full confidence that the government of Kenya will fully respect its obligations arising from the Statute of Rome (which set up the ICC) and will facilitate the important work of the court," Arbia said.

In all countries where the ICC is carrying out inquiries, the task of the registrar concerns the protection of witnesses and victims, and security and logistical support to the court's operations, ICC spokeswoman Sonia Robla told AFP.

Last March, the ICC authorised its prosecutor to investigate a wave of political and ethnic violence that broke out across the east African country after disputed elections in December 2007.

Some 1,500 people were killed and another 300,000 displaced in a matter of weeks after the presidential polls in which President Mwai Kibaki was accused of having stolen the vote.

Kibaki now heads a joint administration with his rival at the polls, Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Arbia's visit to Kenya, from Wednesday to Saturday, had "no connection" with the presence in that country on August 27 of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, Robla stressed.

Sudan's leader attended the official ceremony to promulgate a new Kenyan constitution, though he is the object of two ICC arrest warrants for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the west Sudanese region of Darfur.

As a signatory to the Rome Statute, Kenya was strongly criticised for inviting Bashir and failing to arrest him. Odinga later said at a church service last Sunday that "It was wrong to invite President Bashir."

© 2010 AFP

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