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Kenya MPs okay Special Tribunal

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 28 – Members of Parliament have approved a Bill that seeks to create a Special Tribunal to try perpetrators of the post election violence.

MPs endorsed the Bill during a second informal parliamentary meeting (Kamkunji) held on Wednesday afternoon at Parliament’s old chambers.

Addressing journalists after the meeting that was chaired by President Mwai Kibaki, Cabinet Minister Mutula Kilonzo said the Bill would now come up for debate in Parliament on Thursday.

“We received amazing contributions on the draft Bill and we have accommodated them. In the end we have come up with an even better law,” Mr Kilonzo said.

He relayed that changes proposed at the meeting would be presented to the Ministry of Constitutional Affairs and the Parliamentary Legal Affairs committee for fine-tuning, before it is finally published on Wednesday.

President Kibaki urged legislators to ensure they were in the National Assembly to pass the Bill when it comes up for debate.

Mr Kilonzo said once the law was passed, the process of establishing the Special Tribunal would begin immediately.

“The Tribunal should be in place by March. Recruitment of officials to sit in the Tribunal starts once it is passed.”

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The setting up of the Special Tribunal was one of the far-reaching recommendations of the Waki Commission that investigated the poll violence.

Some Cabinet Ministers are among those that could find themselves before the tribunal, accused of funding the violence.

Justice Philip Waki, who chaired the inquiry, had warned that should efforts to establish the tribunal be subverted; a list of suspects would be forwarded to the Special Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

In his 500-page report handed over to President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga in October 2008, Justice Waki recommended that the entity be given jurisdiction over criminal cases particularly against humanity and related to the 2007 post-election violence.


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