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Legal Experts Question Viability of Azimio’s Request to ICC as the Court Confirms Receipt of Letter

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has received a request from the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya coalition to investigate allegations of police brutality against its supporters. The ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) has confirmed the receipt of the letter, but has not commented on whether the grounds presented in the letter meet the threshold for the Pre-Trial Chamber to authorize an investigation.

The ICC is a court of last resort, and the OTP will analyze the information in the letter to determine whether the local system has failed or is unwilling to investigate the claims. If the Prosecutor concludes that there is a reasonable basis for an investigation, the office will submit a request for authorization to the Pre-Trial Chamber.

However, if the evidence presented is not sufficient, the OTP will inform Azimio La Umoja One Kenya coalition that the grounds cited fall short of the set threshold. The opposition claims that the Inspector-General of Police, Japhet Koome, created a special squad to unleash terror on its supporters.

The coalition has also accused Mr. Koome of violating the Constitution by declaring the opposition protests illegal. In a recent response, the IG dismissed the letter as a “mix of propaganda and half-truths” and argued that it left out victims of criminals who took advantage of the protests to loot from businesses and destroy property.

Constitutional lawyer Bobby Mkangi says that the request by Azimio appears premature. He points out that the ICC is likely to ask the opposition to provide evidence that the local system has failed or is unwilling to investigate the claims made in the letter.

Lawyer Charles Kanjama says there is a general consensus within the legal fraternity that the grounds cited by the opposition significantly fall short of the threshold set by the ICC. Mr. Kanjama adds that it would be difficult for the opposition to demonstrate that local authorities had failed to investigate the alleged killings that took place barely weeks before they sought the ICC’s intervention.

In 2010, the former prosecutor of the ICC, Luis Moreno Ocampo, named six Kenyans suspected to have masterminded the 2007/2008 post-election violence that left 1,133 people dead. Among those named were President Ruto, Mr. Kenyatta, former head of the civil service Francis Muthaura, former police commissioner Hussein Ali, former Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey and journalists Joshua Sang.

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