Tuesday, March 15, 2011

ICC in the Media, Update #24

March has been a very productive month for the International Criminal Court. As we reported earlier, the United Nations Security Council referred the situation in Libya to the ICC, Pre-Trial Chamber II decided to issue summons for the six named suspects in the Kenya investigation, and the Court continues proceedings in its numerous ongoing cases. The ICC's formal investigation into the situation in Libya is in full swing. ICC Prosecutor Ocampo has received confirmations that Gaddafi's forces have fired on peaceful demonstrators. However, Ocampo has also said that if opposition forces behave similarly they will also face scrutiny. To ensure a fair investigation the Prosecutor has welcomed information from potential suspects regarding their efforts to punish perpetrators and prevent atrocities. President Obama has made a statement supporting the ICC holding accountable the perpetrators of atrocities in Libya.

In response to the issuance of summons by the ICC for the "Kenya six" members of government have said that the government will fight both the admissibility and jurisdiction of the cases. However, members of the ODM party, who have supported an ICC intervention from the beginning, have said that neither they nor the Cabinet were consulted in the matter. According to Kenya's Secretary General until official process for determining government action has been abided by, the pronouncement that the government will challenge the ICC should be merely taken as a personal view of a handful of cabinet members. Members of the ODM party are reportedly taking steps to ensure that the six suspects will not have access to money for legal fees set aside from public funds because "It is wrong to assist the suspected perpetrators when the victims of the violence are still suffering." In the meantime the U.N. Security Council has confirmed receipt of Kenya's request to defer the investigation. Members of the U.N.S.C. and U.N. will now meet with Kenya to discuss the request. Earlier this week a Kenya High Court refused to order the government not to act on the summons issued by the ICC. Reportedly all six suspects have confirmed that they will abide by the summonses to appear before the Court. In the interim Prosecutor Ocampo has requested that Muthaura and Uhuru do not partake in their responsibilities relating to the police and Witness Protection Committee.

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