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ICC to investigate Kenya violence

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki (C) and Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga (R) greeting the International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo
Kenya's president and prime minister have promised full co-operation

The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor says he will request ICC judges to open an investigation into Kenya's post-election violence.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo made the comments after meeting Kenya's president and prime minister, who said they would co-operate with the ICC probe.

Prominent politicians, including cabinet ministers, are suspected of masterminding the violence.

The clashes left some 1,300 people dead and forced 300,000 from their homes.

President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga agreed to share power to end the clashes that followed the December 2007 poll.

A man wounded in Kenya's post-poll violence
I explained to them that I consider the crimes committed in Kenya were crimes against humanity
ICC's Luis Moreno-Ocampo

Mr Ocampo made the comments at a joint news conference with the two leaders.

"I informed them, in December I would request to the judges of the International Criminal Court to open an investigation and that is the process established by the Rome Treaty," he said.

"I explained to them that I consider the crimes committed in Kenya were crimes against humanity, therefore the gravity is there. So therefore I should proceed."

The BBC's Caroline Karobia in the capital, Nairobi, says this is a significant step forward as the government has been sending out mixed signals about the prospect of sending suspects for trial in The Hague.

A power-sharing deal in February 2008 - brokered by former UN head Kofi Annan - agreed that a local tribunal would be set up to prosecute those behind the violence.

But several deadlines to set it up were missed and Mr Annan handed over list of 10 suspects to the ICC - their identities have not been made public.



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