Revealed: Why ICC cannot comment on Azimio case’s threshold

It is nearly two weeks since Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition wrote a letter to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

In the letter, Azimio seeks ICC’s intervention in “killing and maiming” of its supporters by the police during the anti-government protests staged in March 2023.

The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) at the Hague-based court confirmed to Sunday Nation to have formally received the letter.

Rome Statute 

However, the office neither confirmed nor denied if the grounds cited meet the threshold for the pre-trial chamber to authorise investigations.

This is because Article 15 of the Rome Statute bars it from making comments or sharing details of the information.

In the event the Prosecutor concludes that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation, the office shall submit to the Pre-Trial Chamber a request for authorisation.

Letter detailing individuals 

According to OTP, it has the letter detailing individuals the Azimio says were killed or wounded by security officers.

“Under article 15 of the Rome Statute, any individual or group may send information (communication) on alleged crimes to the ICC prosecutor, who is duty bound to protect the confidentiality of the information received,” the OTP said.

Further, OTP said, “The Office of the Prosecutor, therefore, does not comment on such communications, beyond confirming receipt… if the sender has made that fact public.”

According to Article 15 of the Rome Statute, the Prosecutor shall upon receipt of such communication “analyse the seriousness of the information and may seek additional information from the (member) state, organs of the UN, intergovernmental or non-governmental organisations”.

“If the Pre-Trial Chamber…considers that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation, and that the case appears to fall within the jurisdiction of the court, it shall authorise commencement of the investigation, without prejudice to subsequent determinations by the court with regard to the jurisdiction and admissibility of a case,” says section 4 of the Article.

But if after examination the prosecutor concludes that the information does not constitute a reasonable basis for an investigation, the office will inform Azimio La Umoja One Kenya coalition that the cited grounds fall short of the set threshold.

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Antony Nyongesa
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