Thursday, October 08, 2009
Annan urges Kenya to establish tribunal for perpetrators of post-election violence
Brian Jackson at 12:10 PM ET
[JURIST] Former UN secretary-general
Kofi Annan [official profile; JURIST news archive] on Wednesday urged Kenya to establish a local tribunal [statement text] to prosecute those who perpetrated violence in the wake of the 2007 presidential elections [JURIST news archive]. Annan made the remarks at the end of a three-day visit to Kenya to monitor the progress of the peace agreement and coalition government that he helped broker in the wake of the election. Annan said that Kenya has pledged to cooperate [BBC report] with the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website], which last week said that it would seek to prosecute [JURIST report] those responsible for the violence. Annan also expressed disappointment with the pace of reforms [JURIST report] in Kenya, warning that general elections scheduled for 2012 might face similar issues as those in 2007. While Annan calls for Kenyan involvement in policing their own matters, not all observers believe such action is possible. In August, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] called for an independent tribunal [JURIST report] with international support and participation because "the Kenyan judiciary lacks independence," and the necessary reforms announced [transcript] by the Kenyan Cabinet [official website] in late July would be insufficient. Earlier this year, the Kenyan parliament rejected [JURIST report] the proposed document that Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki [official profile] and opposition leader Raila Odinga [campaign website] agreed to draft [JURIST report] to establish a new Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2009 [text, PDF], along with a Special Tribunal for Kenya Bill, 2009 [text, PDF] that would have set up a special domestic court to try those allegedly responsible for the post-election violence. Tens of thousands of protesters took to Kenya's streets accusing Kibaki of election fraud after early opinion polls suggested rival Odinga was in the lead.
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