Imanyara sells UN tribunal bid

February 16, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 16 – Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara on Monday said that the government could still avoid The Hague option through the establishment of a UN special court to be based in the country.

Mr Imanyara argued at a press conference that the Foreign Affairs Minister could direct the country’s ambassador to the United Nations to make an application to the UN Security Council.

“All it takes is a letter from the Minister Wetangula to our representative to the UN, and within days the UN Security Council would meet, first informally to circulate it among members, and thereafter meet and the resolutions would be passed within no time. I have no doubt at all that is the best option for this country,” he expressed.

The legislator told a news conference at Parliament Buildings that his was not an alternative to the Special Tribunal and The Hague options that were recommended in the Waki Commission Report.

”It is not a third option. It is still the International Criminal Court trying these suspects but on Kenyan soil. So that those who voted for The Hague thinking that they can escape because it will take a long time, they can rest assured that they will not be able to escape.”

Mr Imanyara, who led the campaign to defeat the Government-sponsored Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2009 that sought to entrench the Special Tribunal of Kenya in the Constitution, said he has written to the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Legal Affairs and Administration of Justice Abdikadir Mohammed, and claims that the idea enjoys support from a majority of MPs.

He said failure by the government to do so will force MPs who voted against the creation of a Special Tribunal to move a motion, petitioning the UN Security Council to set up the special court in Kenya.

“That cannot be ignored because it will be deemed a resolution of the National Assembly, in the event that the Minister of Foreign Affairs doesn’t take this option,” he stressed, adding; ”I think it is important that we send a strong message that the culture of impunity has to end.”

Mr Imanyara said that the setting up of a UN backed court will offer a level ground for both sides of the debate, as it will be a ‘credible and internationally backed process’.

The Imenti Central legislator said Kenya could benefit from established infrastructure and staff drawn from the Yugoslavia and Rwanda tribunal courts, which are to complete their work in three months.

“My plea to Kofi Annan (chief mediator) is that not all is lost. We are still on track not for a local tribunal but an international tribunal sitting in Kenya supervised and managed by the UN because the facilities are already in existence and will be available in a few months, when the special tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda wind up,” he stated.


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