Congo must avoid electoral violence: ICC prosecutor

Fri Nov 11, 2011 3:10pm GMT

By Sara Webb and Jonny Hogg

AMSTERDAM/KINSHASA (Reuters) - Congolese politicians must avoid electoral violence or risk facing the International Criminal Court (ICC), its prosecutor said on Friday, joining an international chorus of warning about the prospect of bloodshed in this month's voting.

"The use of violence cannot be tolerated," ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said in a statement, adding that his office was following the electoral process closely.

"Let no one doubt our determination to prevent and, where appropriate, to prosecute such crimes as we do in Kenya and Ivory Coast," he said, naming two African countries where the ICC has investigated election-related violence.

The vast minerals-rich Central African nation is gearing up for a November 28 presidential and parliamentary election that has also been shrouded in concerns over logistical delays.

Separately, Daniel Ngoy Mulunda, the head of Congo's election commission, said it had invited the ICC "to observe the elections (and) to take those who are accused of inciting or creating violence".

Mulunda told reporters in Kinshasa that the presidential and parliamentary elections would take place on November 28, as expected, rejecting suggestions they would be delayed because of a lack of preparation.

The United Nations this week warned that political manipulation of Congo's security forces has brought crackdowns on opposition parties and could lead to bloodshed.

The report, produced by the United Nations' Joint Human Rights Office, documented 188 cases of election-related violence from November 2010 to September 2011.   Continued...

A file photo of ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo  at a news conference  REUTERS/Michael Kooren
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