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Kenya delays vote on special tribunal following bribery allegations

[JURIST] The Kenyan Parliament [official website] on Tuesday delayed voting on a constitutional amendment that would create a special tribunal for the country, following allegations by MP Gitobu Imanyara [official profile] that government officials tried to bribe or blackmail MPs into voting for the bill. President Mwai Kibaki [official website] recently made an appeal [press release] for MPs to support the court, which would be responsible for trying those suspected of taking part in violence following the country's disputed December 2007 elections [JURIST report], but groups including the National Council of Churches of Kenya [Global Ministries backgrounder] have called for the proposed amendment to be heavily scrutinized [Capital News report] in light of the allegations [BBC report]. Those who oppose creating the special tribunal also argue that the country's judicial system would not be independent enough to consider the cases properly. Others, including International Commission of Jurists-Kenya [advocacy website], have continued to support its creation. Voting on the amendment has been postponed [Standard report] until next week, and if the tribunal does not begin hearings by March 1, a list of suspects will be sent to the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] for prosecution.

Approximately 1,500 people were killed in violence that followed allegations of fraud [JURIST report] in the country's presidential election. The disputed tribunal was proposed to a commission [JURIST report] charged with investigating the violence after Kibaki and opposition candidate Raila Odinga approved a power-sharing agreement [JURIST report] designed to quiet the unrest.

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