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ICC mulls role in Nairobi mall attacks

Sept. 24, 2013 at 12:40 PM   |   Comments

THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- The chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court said Tuesday attacks at a shopping mall in Nairobi may fall within her jurisdiction.

Kenyan defense officials said Tuesday three soldiers died and eight others were injured during the militant siege of the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, The Daily Nation newspaper reported. Interpol, the international police force, offered its assistance in an attack said to bear the hallmarks of the Islamist terror group al-Shabaab. At least 60 civilians were killed in the attack that began Saturday.

Fatou Bensouda, the chief prosecutor at the ICC, said she was appalled by an attack that may fall under her jurisdiction.

"Such attacks by armed groups upon innocent civilians are contrary to international law and may constitute a crime under the Rome Statute, to which Kenya is a state party," she said in a statement.

The ICC said Monday it suspended its trial of Kenyan Vice President William Ruto so he would return home to address the situation. Ruto, national broadcast director Joshua Sang and President Uhuru Kenyatta are charged with committing war crimes during post-election violence in Kenya in 2007.

Kenyatta was elected early this year. Ruto is a former political rival.

Kenyan and African leaders expressed frustration with the ICC for calling sitting leaders before the court. The African Union said Ruto's appearance at The Hague in the Netherlands interfered with his constitutional obligations.

The Daily Nation reported Tuesday gun fire and explosions were heard from the Westgate Mall as security forces patrolled the building's interior.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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