MPs miss second Hague deadline

January 29, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 29 – The prospects of sending perpetrators of post-election violence to The Hague became real on Thursday afternoon after Members of Parliament (MPs) shot down a Motion seeking to limit the period of publication of the Bill before debate from 14 days to one day.

Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara threw a spanner in the works after he stood on a Point of Order to oppose the bid by Justice Minister Martha Karua, who sought to have the Bill establishing the Special Tribunal proceed to the Second Reading, contrary to the Standing Orders.

“In order for this House to proceed to the second reading leave of the House is required, to signify this I am supported by members behind me,” he said.

Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo Ikolomani’s Dr Bonny Khalwale and Olago Alouch (Kisumu Town West) stood in support of Mr Imanyara.

The Standing Orders stipulate that once a Bill is introduced in the House, it must wait for a minimum of 14 days before it goes to the debate stage.

Karua had wanted the time slashed to one day to enable the government beat Friday’s deadline before the Waki envelop is sent to the International Criminal Court.

Speaker of the National Assembly deferred The Constitutional of Kenya Amendment and the Special Tribunal for Kenya Bills until they reach the maturity of 14 days.

Delay implications

Friday was the deadline by which a local tribunal should be in place.

According to the Waki report; “If either an agreement for the establishment of the Special Tribunal is not signed, or the Statute for the Special Tribunal fails to be enacted, or the Special Tribunal fails to commence functioning, or having commenced operating its purposes are subverted, a list containing names of and relevant information on those suspected to bear the greatest responsibility for crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the proposed
Special Tribunal shall be forwarded to the Special Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.”

“The Special Prosecutor shall be requested to analyse the seriousness of the information received with a view to proceeding with an investigation and prosecuting such suspected persons.”

The consensus

The move by the Imenti Central MP seemed to have come by surprise since Ms Karua had already moved a Motion to have Parliament extend its normal sittings until the conclusion of the business appearing in the order paper.

Following the two informal meetings held on Tuesday and Wednesday to urge legislators to pass the Bills when they came before the House was also a surety that they would sail through.

Dr Khalwale accused the government of rushing to form a tribunal without incorporating the views of the civil society and the public.

“The reason why we objected is that this thing is being done hurriedly. This rushing is not well thought about (sic), we have therefore left it to the Executive to choose to cooperate with the Legislature or to think you can be making decisions which amount to dictatorship,” he said.

After the two Bills were shot down President Mwai Kibaki did not attend the afternoon session as was earlier expected.

The red carpet and the flag were removed immediately after the Bills were frustrated.


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