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Kenya parliament rejects bills establishing election tribunal

[JURIST] The Kenyan Parliament [official website] rejected [press release] Thursday two bills that would have established a special national tribunal to deal with cases stemming from the December 2007 post-election violence [JURIST report]. The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2009 [text, PDF] and the Special Tribunal for Kenya Bill, 2009 [text, PDF] were rejected by a vote of 101-93, with 145 votes needed to pass. The situation is complicated because the Commission of Inquiry on Post Election Violence (CIPEV), or Waki Commission, set a March 1 deadline for establishment of the courts [commission report, PDF]. If this deadline is not met, a sealed enveloped containing the names of ten high ranking government officials [Daily Nation report] accused of orchestrating the post-election violence will be given to the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website].

Voting on the bills was postponed [JURIST report] following allegations that government officials tried to bribe or blackmail MPs into voting for the bill. More than 1,000 people were killed and 500,000 displaced by violence following allegations of fraud [JURIST report] in the country's presidential election. The defeated bills were proposed by CIPEV [JURIST report] in October 2008 after Kibaki and opposition candidate Raila Odinga approved a power-sharing agreement [JURIST report] in March 2008.

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