Kenya in the Shadow of the ICC: Complementarity, Gravity and Impact

In: International Criminal Law Review
Chandra Lekha Sriram University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, UK

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Stephen Brown School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa, Canada

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Following contested elections in late 2007, Kenya experienced brief but significant violence. International pressure and diplomacy led to a coalition government, and a commission of inquiry recommended the creation of an internationalized criminal tribunal or International Criminal Court (ICC) involvement, should a tribunal not be created. The government of Kenya both promised to create a hybrid tribunal and to cooperate with the ICC, yet has arguably done neither, engaging in delaying tactics for about a year before the prosecutor requested approval to open an investigation. The specific situation presented by Kenya requires careful analysis of two key principles of admissibility in the Rome Statute, gravity and complementarity. This article, based on fieldwork and interviews in Kenya and in The Hague and on judicial decisions and prosecutorial policy documents, examines the treatment of these to date, emphasizing the use and abuse of the concept of positive complementarity.

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