Kenya tribunal still an option, says PM

February 14, 2009 12:00 am

, KISUMU, Kenya, Feb 14 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga says suspects in Kenya’s post election violence may still stand trial in the country despite the defeat of a bill that was to entrench a proposed Special Tribunal in the constitution.

Mr Odinga told a gathering in Homabay that he had briefed Chief Mediator Kofi Annan of the Parliamentary setback to establishing a local tribunal.

"We are taking the matter seriously because many lives were lost during the chaos and assure that any offender irrespective of status in the society is dispensable," he said adding that lawmakers would get another chance to enact a law on a Special tribunal.

He said the government planned to recruit reputable judges, prosecutors and court registrars from the international market to ensure that the trials of a local Special Court are credible and fair.

Mr Odinga said Kenyans wanted to know the truth behind the heinous killings that characterized the unstable period after the 2007 General Election. He said even senior government officials who might have sanctioned some of the atrocities would be brought to book.

The premier made the remarks after the coalition parliamentary group on Thursday failed to push through the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2009 which was tailored to insulate a proposed local tribunal from opposition by anchoring it in the law.
The government failed to garner the two thirds needed majority it required in a ‘yes vote’ for the amendment to succeed, raising concern that an intercontinental process had began to have those on a secret list of suspects tried at The Hague.
Mr Annan is the custodian of a secret list of those believed to have caused deadly post election violence and it is his prerogative whether the top Kenyan officials who stand accused in that document ought to be subjected to international jurisprudence.

The Chief Mediator in Kenya’s peace talks on Friday said his "panel will now review the actions it should take in line with the spirit, letter and intent of (the Waki) report."

Popularly known as The Waki Report, the Commission of Inquiry into the Post-Election Violence document was the audit of the deadly post election situation in Kenya which brought Mr Annan here at the request of the international community.
The Waki report details timelines by when the coalition government should implement certain key reform agenda, and in this case, the setting up of a local Special Tribunal to try the perpetrators of post election violence.

The Unity Government that was brokered by Mr Annan and his team missed that deadline about two weeks ago, and worse still, failed to convince legislators that a Bill seeking to entrench that Tribunal in the constitution was good for the country.


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