August deadline for Kenya tribunal: Annan

April 1, 2009 12:00 am

, GENEVA, April 1 – Former UN chief Kofi Annan said Tuesday that the Kenyan parliament had till the end of August to agree on a special court to try those suspected of masterminding post-election violence in the country.

If parliament fails to do so, the names of the suspects would be forwarded to the International Criminal Court (ICC), said Annan, who mediated the power-sharing agreement a year ago.

"I think we need to monitor very closely to see that serious attempts are being made to get the Special Tribunal established and to monitor it for a reasonable period… I don’t think it should go beyond the summer.

"And if they don’t follow through, then obviously I will have to give the envelope to the ICC," he told reporters after a two-day meeting in Geneva to evaluate the progress made in Kenya’s reconciliation process.

Parliament’s failure in February to agree on the special court was described by Annan as a "major setback" to the implementation of recommendations made by a commission that investigated the post-election violence which left 1,500 people dead.

Annan said the government had asked for time to made a fresh attempt to get the court established.

He said it should be "given reasonable time to do so" but "I hope it would not take too long."

Overall, Annan assessed that "progress has been made" in the reconciliation process, but that "momentum has slowed."

"Some progress has been made but we are looking for a faster pace of implementation," he said.

The reconciliation process offered a space for Kenyans to address the fundamental problems in the country but "this space is shrinking and needs to be restored for the implementation to succeed."

For Annan, the process is not over until Kenya gets a "solid" constitution, reforms its electoral process and tackles issues of impunity.


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