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AFRICAN UNION...OCAMPO AND POST ELECTION SUSPECTS.

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Denzel Musumba

Denzel Musumba

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As International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo arrives in Kenya, a group of African States plans to petition the United Nations Security Council to defer the investigations until after the next General Election. The 60 African lobbyists — who include academics, politicians and lawyers — plan a parallel meeting to an ICC Review Meeting scheduled for May 31 to June 11 in the Ugandan capital, Kampala. The push to stop Moreno-Ocampo from pursuing post-election violence suspects has been met with stinging criticism from local human rights groups, who read desperate attempts by forces culpable in the violence that consumed the country in the aftermath of the highly disputed 2007 presidential elections. African Union that has in the past two years been critical of Moreno-Ocampo since he slapped a warrant of arrest on Sudanese President Omar Hassan el Bashir, are pushing for a revision of Article 15 of the Rome Statute that bestows unlimited powers on the chief prosecutor to pursue leaders accused of genocide and crimes against humanity. The anti-Moreno Ocampo campaign is being spearheaded by Sudan, which has rallied support from among others Kenya, Libya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Uganda, South Africa, DR Congo, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Liberia Mozambique and Chad. In Europe, former USSR and Czechoslovakia satellite states are rallying behind the lobby group. Apart from the African World Media (AWM), a leading British lobby group, and American-based Witness Africa, are some of the organisations lining up to tell Ocampo to "give Kenya breathing space". Further, the group has drafted a petition it hopes to present to the UN Security Council on Wednesday to press for the deferment of the ICC investigations pending the conclusion of Agenda Item IV of the National Peace Accord signed under international pressure by President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga that ended post-election chaos in 2008.

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