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International Criminal Court arrives in DR Congo to start probe, UN says

International Criminal Court arrives in DR Congo to start probe, UN says

Officials from the International Criminal Court (ICC) have arrived in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for their first investigation into serious violations of international law allegedly committed in the Great Lakes country in the past two years, a United Nations spokeswoman said today.

Staff from the ICC Prosecutor's Office and Registry are expected to spend the next few days holding closed meetings with representatives of the Congolese authorities, civil society, and international organizations, spokeswoman Marie Okabe told a press briefing in New York.

ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said on 23 June that the Court would open the first investigation of the ICC by looking into the grave crimes that allegedly took place on DRC territory since 1 July 2002.

Last September, the Prosecutor spotlighted connections that between crimes being committed in DRC's Ituri province and businesses operating in Europe, Asia and North America. He pledged to determine the contribution, if any, that these businesses are making to the commission of crimes in the DRC.

"The investigation of the financial aspects of the atrocities allegedly committed in Ituri will be crucial to prevent future crimes and for the prosecution of crimes already committed," he said at the time, voicing hope that the exercise would "contribute to the ongoing peace process and ultimately yield stability for the DRC, fostering not just political stability but also healthy markets."