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Annan extends Kenya election violence tribunal deadline

[JURIST] Kenya has until the end of August to establish a tribunal to try the leaders behind the 2007 post-election violence [JURIST report], former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan [official website] told the BBC [report] Thursday. If the country does not meet the August deadline, which was originally set for March, Annan plans to give the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] a sealed list of key suspects for prosecution. Annan said that Kenyan leaders are going to make another attempt to establish the tribunal following the expiration of a prior two-month extension [JURIST report] until May. The violence arose out of demonstrations against alleged election fraud and vote-rigging that followed the narrow 2007 victory of Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki [official profile] and resulted in the death of approximately 1,500 people. Following the contested election, Annan facilitated a power-sharing agreement [JURIST report] between Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga [official profile], which named Odinga as Kenya's first prime minister. Annan stressed the importance of the tribunal, saying:

I think Kenya would be much better off with that trial taking place in their midst. They are collectively and individually responsible and they should work with the speaker and their fellow parliamentarians to establish the court for the sake of justice - the victims deserve justice.

In February, the Kenyan Parliament rejected [press release; JURIST report] the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2009 [text, PDF] and the Special Tribunal for Kenya Bill, 2009 [text, PDF], which sought to establish the special tribunal. Before Annan granted his initial extension of the tribunal deadline in February, Odinga maintained [press release; JURIST report] that the government would be able to convene the court despite parliamentary opposition and allegations [JURIST report] that government officials had attempted to bribe or blackmail MPs into voting for its creation.

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