NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 25 – New York based lobby group Human Rights Watch on Wednesday put more pressure on the government to form a local tribunal to try the perpetrators of the post 2007 election violence.,
Global Executive Director Kenneth Roth asked President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to sack Ministers who fail to support the Bill seeking to establish the tribunal.
“They should not tolerate Ministers and Assistant Ministers who are voting against the Bill. They must test ministerial commitment to support the local tribunal,” he said.
He also stressed on the two principals to exercise their leadership and commitment to form a local tribunal by engaging in active campaigns that will convince Parliament to pass the Special Tribunal Bill.
“They should speak out loudly, publicly and repeatedly. They are best to provide political leadership, as we are judging their credibility. We should be looking at how often they are commenting on this, and how they are trying to build public pressure to end impunity,” he said.
Mr Roth who strongly advocated for the formation of a local tribunal as opposed to the International Criminal Court (ICC) insisted that it was important to urgently deal with the individuals named in the Waki Report before the next political season.
He said ICC was the last resort since the time factor was of essence bearing in mind that elections were about three years away.
Mr Roth further said a local tribunal will establish a permanent legacy as well as give experience on the judicial system in Kenya as opposed to the ICC which is in another country.
He said a Sierra Leone model which had been proposed by Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara was not as suitable as a local tribunal since it is also time consuming.
Questions of the tribunal’s credibility, protection of witnesses and amnesty are some of the reasons why the Bill was defeated in Parliament.
The rights watchdog is calling for amendments to the Special Tribunal Bill to address these concerns, although it is quick to speak out against immunity for the violence perpetrators.