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Violence: ATU pushes for local tribunal

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 3 – African Trade Unions on Thursday urged Kenya to establish a local tribunal to deal with the perpetrators of the 2007 post election violence.

Speaking after a sub regional conference in Nairobi, International Trade Union General Secretary for Africa, Adu Amankwah said Kenya should take the lead by establishing such institutions in the continent.

“As long as the deadline is not over, whatever is possible to be done, I think it is in the interest of Kenya and the development of local institutions in this continent. The government and the people of Kenya should do everything possible to set up the tribunal,” he said.

He emphasised on the importance of African countries solving their problems without always referring them to the international community.

However, he said, with or without the formation of the tribunal, the perpetrators should not be allowed to go free.

He noted that the International Criminal Court (ICC) will take action to ensure those who committed the crimes are punished.

“We don’t think that those responsible for the violence should go scot free; at the end it will be necessary for the ICC to take whatever processes are necessary for bringing justice to those who suffered during that period,” he said.

However a Private Member’s Bill seeking to establish a Special Tribunal has already been introduced in Parliament by Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara.

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The Bill has however faced a lot of criticism with some MPs vowing to shoot it down.

Parliament, led by the backbenchers in February rejected an earlier Bill by former Justice Minister Martha Karua vouching for local trials through a special court. They then argued that such a process would be interfered with by the powerful people behind the mayhem.

Organisation of African Trade Union Unity Secretary General Hassan Sunmonu said if Kenya fails to act, nothing will stop the ICC from carrying out its investigations.

“Le the people and government of Kenya remember what happened in other countries. If you don’t do justice to your people, the international community will definitely do it,” he warned.

COTU Deputy Secretary General George Muchai also added his voice. He said Kenya needs to support the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission to help people heal from the effects of the violence.

He however clarified that the commission’s mandate will be to heal the country and not to bring the perpetrators to face the law.

Mr Muchai also said implementation of the Waki recommendations and the reforms was a key step that the government needed to show its commitment.

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