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Kenya MPs back Annan ICC move

NAIROBI, Kenya, July 9 – Kenyan Members of Parliament have lauded former UN Chief Kofi Annan for handing over the list of suspected post election violence perpetrators to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Hours after Mr Annan informed Kenyan authorities of his decision, the MPs welcomed the decision saying the move would offer an opportunity for the ICC to carry out independent and credible investigations.

Alongside the list of a handful masterminds and financiers, Mr Annan also handed over supporting materials that were given to him last October by Justice Philip Waki.

"It is proper for the prosecutor at The Hague to first ascertain that the evidence presented by Justice Waki is credible before going ahead to make the names public," Konoin legislator Julius Kones who has been advocating for prosecutions at The Hague, said.

On his part Dujis MP Adan Duale said it was time the perpetrators of last year’s post-election violence to face justice at an international forum.

"Nobody should panic.  This is the best and only way we are going to have a fair investigation.  It is just to the victims and the accused," Mr Duale said.

Other MPs said it had been unfair for Mr Annan to have kept the secret envelop for an indefinite period, as the political class appeared unwilling to deal with the injustices that were committed.

"The ultimatums we have been getting from Mr Annan were in bad taste. We do not want a situation in which one individual in the name of being a friend to Kenya feels he can make everyone think the way he wants," said Wajir West MP Adan Keynan.

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However lawmakers Mutava Musyimi and John Mututho were sceptical that the decision to send the suspects to The Hague was the best, and warned it could polarise the country even more.

Rev Musyimi said that prosecution of the suspects would achieve the goal of ending impunity but could in turn compromise efforts to re-unite the country.

"My own concern is that whether we go to The Hague or establish the local Tribunal, will we have a country reconciled enough?" Rev Musyimi posed.

Mr Mututho on the other hand said the country should forget both the local Tribunal and ICC options and work on securing unity.

"If you arrest one of the few national leaders there will be disturbances.  Let us sit down, forgive each other and control this mess," he recommended.

The two MPs also proposed that the government should focus on the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission to unite the country.

President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga have been advocating for a local solution to the crisis but their attempts have been met with resistance from a large section of MPs.

Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo had indicated that he was in the process of coming up with a hybrid judicial mechanism to deal with impunity in the country.

At least 1,333 people were killed while 350,000 others displaced from their homes during the violence that was sparked by the disputed 2007 presidential election result.

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