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Open Access Violence in Kenya: Any Role for the ICC in the Quest for Accountability?

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Violence in Kenya: Any Role for the ICC in the Quest for Accountability?

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This article examines the violence that broke out in Kenya after the 2007 presidential elections. After weeks of fighting and the establishment of a coalition government made up of the incumbent president and the leader of the opposition, relative calm returned to the country. However, the government has been slow to implement the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into Post Election Violence (Waki Commission). One key suggestion the Waki Commission made was to call upon the Kenyan government to establish an independent Special Tribunal made up of domestic and international jurists to prosecute those responsible for the crimes committed during the violence. At the time of writing, the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II had been assigned the matter to determine whether the Office of the Prosecutor could initiate investigations. This article argues that the crimes committed in Kenya during the post election violence do not meet the ICC threshold on jurisdiction and gravity, and do not have the essential legal attributes of genocide and crimes against humanity. However, the manner in which the ICC handles this situation has the potential to influence the way future crimes are tried; thus the ICC must ensure that impunity does not prevail over accountability.


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