Kenya’s post-election crisis mediator Kofi Annan said on Thursday he had handed a sealed envelope with the names of top suspects behind the violence to the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor.
The ICC has vowed to try perpetrators of the worst bloodletting in Kenya’s post-independence history — in which at least 1,300 people died and 300,000 were uprooted in early 2008 — if Nairobi fails to establish its own local court.
Justice for the crisis is seen as a crucial step to ensuring stability in the east African nation of 35 million that is the region’s economic powerhouse and faces its next poll in 2012.
A government-ordered inquiry had mandated Annan to hand over the envelope, with names of at least 10 alleged masterminds, if no local court was established.
The list includes prominent politicians and businessmen, including cabinet ministers, local political sources said.
Kenyan officials told the ICC last week that they would submit a plan for a local court by September, so Annan’s move will ramp up the pressure for that to happen.
A statement from Annan in Geneva said he had informed both President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga that the envelope had been given to ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo.
The former U.N. boss “welcomed the government of Kenya’s renewed efforts to implement the recommendations of the Waki Commission and to establish a Special Tribunal”, it said.
“Any judicial mechanism adopted to bring the perpetrators of the post-election violence to justice must meet international legal standards and be broadly debated with all sectors of the Kenyan society in order to bring credibility to the process.”
Kenya’s parliament has blocked previous attempts by Kibaki and Odinga to create a local court, with some legislators arguing that past local attempts to catch those behind violence or corruption had always proved fruitless.
The ICC’s Moreno-Ocampo told Reuters this week it may take Kenya about a year to establish a tribunal if it agrees to do so in principle. “If Kenya cannot do it, I will do it. There will be no impunity,” he said.
SOURCED FROM REUTERS