Kenya election violence commission urges creation of international tribunal

[JURIST] A commission established to investigate the political and ethnic violence that followed Kenya's disputed December 2007 presidential election [JURIST reports] released [press release] a report [PDF] on Wednesday recommending the establishment of an international tribunal to try suspected perpetrators. The Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence cited “systematic attacks on Kenyans based on their ethnicity and their political leanings” and criticized the state security apparatus for “fail[ing] institutionally to anticipate, prepare for, and contain the violence.” In some instances, law enforcement officers are suspected of having committed acts of violence and gross violations of human rights. Justice Philip Waki, the head of the commission, requested that a tribunal be established within the territorial boundaries of Kenya with the mandate to prosecute crimes – “particularly crimes against humanity” – relating to the 2007 general election. The “Special Tribunal for Kenya,” as it is termed in the report, is to be composed of Kenyan and international judges and will apply both Kenyan and international law.

Notably absent from the commission’s report are the names of the suspected culprits. According to Waki, the commission has evidence of involvement by prominent politicians, government officials, and businessmen in Kenya but has postponed disclosures to prevent the sabotage and adulteration of evidence. The commission is expected to deliver the names in a sealed envelope to former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan [official profile; JURIST news archive], who helped mediate the current power-sharing agreement between Kenya's ruling party and opposition, as early as this Friday. VOA has more.

In March the Kenyan parliament approved a power-sharing agreement [JURIST report] between President Mwai Kibaki [official profile] and opposition leader Raila Odinga [campaign profile] intended to end the post-election violence which had sparked simmering ethnic tensions in the country. Human Rights Watch reported that over 1,000 people were killed and 500,000 displaced in weeks of protests and rioting.



 

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