Special Tribunal on the way

December 17, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 17 – President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga have finally signed an agreement to pave way for the establishment of a special tribunal to try post election violence suspects just on time to beat the set deadline.

President Kibaki penned his signature on the document prepared by the National Dialogue Committee on Wednesday, a day after Mr Odinga signed his part of the deal, beating the December 17 deadline set up by the Commission of Inquiry into Post Election Violence.

A statement from the Presidential Press Service said: “The Cabinet Committee on the National Accord will prepare a Bill to be known as “The Statute for the Special Tribunal” that will be submitted to the National Assembly for enactment.”

The two principals have also committed to mobilise support for the passing of the law.

According to the document obtained exclusively by Capital News, “The special tribunal will seek accountability against persons bearing the greatest responsibility for crimes (particularly crimes against humanity) relating to the 2007 general elections.”

The tribunal is a product of the Commission of Inquiry into the Post Election Violence which also recommended far-reaching reforms to the country’s security forces.

Members of the dialogue team include Ministers Moses Wetangula, Martha Karua, Mutula Kilonzo, Musalia Mudavadi, William Ruto, Sally Kosgey, James Orengo and Sam Ongeri.

The Justice Phillip Waki led commission identified a ‘handful’ of suspects who it wanted tried for their role in the crisis which resulted to over 1,000 deaths and displacement of over 300,000 others.

By signing the agreement the President and Premier committed that any person holding public office charged at the tribunal shall be suspended from duty until the matter is determined.

“The parties shall ensure that any person convicted is barred from holding any public office or contesting any electoral position,” the agreement adds.

The signed agreement gives power to the President, the Premier and the ‘Serena eight’ (members of the Dialogue Committee) to oversee the day-to-day management and implementation of the reforms.

Besides the tribunal, the parties have also committed to key reforms of security forces like formation of an Independent Police Service Commission to oversee both the Kenya Police and the Administration Police. It also calls for the setting up of an Independent Police Conduct Authority and the creation of a modern code of conduct for the two police wings.

“Such reforms shall be undertaken by a panel of policing experts and will include but not limited to a review of all tactics, weapons and the use of force,” the document states.

The Waki team indicted the police for using excessive force and accused them of causing over 600 deaths. The commission recommended the merging of the two forces (regular and administration police) to increase efficiency.

The principals have also committed to ensure that the government establishes ‘The Conflict and Disaster Early Warning and Response Systems’ as a matter of priority.

According to the timelines given by the Waki team the House is supposed to pass the Statute for the Special Tribunal Bill by February 1.

After assenting to the bill the President will set the date of commencement of the functioning of the Special Tribunal within thirty days in consultation with the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice, the Minister for Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs and the Attorney-General.

The tribunal is expected to be dominated by foreigners. The Prosecutor, most investigators will be foreigners. Two out of the three proposed judges will also be foreigners.


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