NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 17 – Members of Parliament have been urged to take advantage of the recess period and mull over a new Special Tribunals Bill which was due to be presented when the House resumes its sittings in November.
HAKI Focus Executive Director Harun Ndubi said on Thursday that the legislators should dedicate time to learn about some of the Bill’s positive aspects like the compensation of the Post Election Violence victims.
He cautioned that should Parliament shoot down the Bill, MPs would lose their credibility and Kenya would lose investment opportunities.
“The international community will consider Kenya a failed State,” Mr Ndubi stated.
Meanwhile, Federation of Women Lawyers chairperson Patricia Nyaundi said that the organisation will mobilise its members to put pressure on the government to adopt the Bill in the event that it was rejected.
“If those 222 Kenyans take their responsibilities seriously, then they must listen to the voice of Kenyans,” Mrs Nyaundi stated.
“In the event that Parliament shoots down the Bill, then the ICC mechanism will be triggered.”
In February MPs threw out an earlier Bill on the same matter which was moved by then Justice Minister Martha Karua.
The new Bill which is being sponsored by Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara has already received backing from backbenchers.
The Bill seeks a double faceted approach to the violence. While the ICC will be left to deal with the main suspects, a Special Tribunal for Kenya will handle the rest of the suspects. It also gives the Speaker of the National Assembly powers to gazette it if the President fails to assent to the Bill.
Mr Imanyara has denied that he was being prompted by Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who has publicly declared his support, to move the Bill.
Mr Odinga and Ministers James Orengo, Anyang’ Nyong’o, Mutula Kilonzo and Otieno Kajwang’ have publicly stated their support for the Bill.
Mr Imanyara said he particularly welcomed an assurance by the PM that MPs would be free to vote with their conscience on the Bill given that it was a critical issue.