12 June 2009

Kenya: Annan Gives Deadline for Local Tribunal

Kenya has been given an ultimatum by the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to set up a tribunal to try the perpetrators of the 2007 post-election violence or face prosecution at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Annan who brokered a power-sharing deal to end the violence in which some 1,500 people were killed and over 350,000 displaced, says Kenya has until the end of August to set up the tribunal or he will make public and hand over the sealed envelope with names of the key suspects to The Hague.

In February, Members of Parliament rejected the bill to establish the tribunal despite intense lobbying by President Mwai Kibaki and his former rival, Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

A further two-month extension granted by Mr Annan has also passed.

"I'm in discussions with the two leaders... and they told me they're going to make a second attempt to get the tribunal established," Annan told the BBC's Network Africa programme.

"I've also made it clear that if it is not established within a reasonable period, which I would say is up to the end of August, I will have no option than to hand the envelope over with the names to the ICC to take it over from there."

Opponents of the bill said they had no faith in Kenya's justice system and some politicians have been accused of trying to delay the hearings until the 2012 elections.

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