Global forum pushes for Kenya tribunal

April 24, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 24 – A global network of lawmakers is calling on Kenya to republish the Special Tribunal Bill to facilitate the trial of post-poll perpetrators locally.

The chairman the Parliamentarian for Global Action (Kenya chapter) David Musila said on Friday that a local tribunal was the only effective way to try those accused.

He also stated that a local tribunal would take a short time to carry out the work compared to the International Court of Justice.

“We think that the best way forward is for the government to republish this Bill and hope that the Members of Parliament think over it very carefully with a view of approving it,” he said.

Mr Musila also called for the implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which would make it possible to try the suspects at the ICC should the local systems fail.

“We recognise the central importance of the implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court into the domestic legal orders of our respective countries without due delay,” he said.

Parliament had at the beginning of the year rejected Bill to establish the Special Tribunal arguing that the provisions had loopholes.

The vote came after weeks of debate and lobbying by those supporting the Bill on one hand and those against it.

A total of 93 MPs voted against the Bill out of the 195 who were in Parliament. The Bill received only 101 votes, well below the required 145 needed to make constitutional amendments.

The Commission of Inquiry into the Post-Election Violence chaired by Justice Phillip Waki had given the government up to March 1 to establish the Special Tribunal.

The rejection of the Bill meant that Chief Mediator Kofi Annan could hand over a list of alleged perpetrators to an international court for investigation and trial.

President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga who fought for the Bill in and out of Parliament through intensive lobbying expressed disappointment at the MPs’ decision.

Post election clashes in Kenya broke out after allegations that the results of the December 2007 election had been rigged.

Some 1,333 people were killed and more than 600,000 displaced during the chaos. Mobs looted and torched businesses in many parts of the country.

After weeks of talks led by Mr Annan, the rivals agreed to share power bringing an end to the violence in February last year.


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