NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 19 – Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan on Friday lauded President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga for signing an agreement to establish a local tribunal to try suspects of post election violence.
In a statement, Mr Annan said he is impressed that the two coalition partners have agreed to implement recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into the Post Election Violence (CIPEV) report.
He said that was an indication that the two leaders were committed to ending the growing culture of impunity in the country, following the ugly post election violence witnessed in the country early this year.
“I am pleased that President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga have signed an agreement for the implementation of the recommendations of the CIPEV,” he said in a statement.
“I note that the parties to the agreement will now prepare and submit to the National Assembly a draft bill for the establishment of the Special Tribunal for Kenya,” he added, and reminded the two leaders on the need to adhere to the suggested timeline for action.
The government on Wednesday agreed on the establishment of a special court to try suspects said to have funded or organized the post election violence.
"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," a statement from the Presidential Press Service said.
"The Bill is aimed at paving the way for the establishment of a Special Tribunal that will seek accountability against persons bearing the greatest responsibility for crimes against humanity relating to the 2007 General Elections,” it added.
At least 1,500 people were killed and more than 300,000 fled their homes in the wake of the December 27, 2007 polls, as then opposition leader Odinga disputed Kibaki’s declared re-election.
Under a peace deal mediated by Dr Annan, President Kibaki agreed to share power and named Mr Odinga the Prime Minister.
A commission set up in May to investigate the role of political parties and government security forces in the violence recommended that a special court be established.
The Commission gave the government up to March 1, 2009 to have a local tribunal established or prepare to hand over key suspects named in a secret envelope in Dr Annan’s possession to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague.
“I trust that the bill will reflect the spirit of CIPEV’s proposals and incorporate all its key provisions,” he said.
Dr Annan said in the statement he is also pleased at the progress the government has made in reforming the countries electoral process.
“In this regard, I am pleased that the National Assembly has passed the Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill, 2008, setting the stage for the implementation of the crucial reforms recommended by the Independent Review Commission (IREC) on the 2007 elections,” he said and added that moving forward on the reform agenda is imperative for building a more stable and democratic Kenya.