ANNAN WARNS KENYA OVER DELAY IN PROBE SET-UP


Delays in setting up a tribunal on post-election violence last year threaten Kenya’s stability, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Tuesday.

The issue of justice for the killings of at least 1,300 people and uprooting of more than 300,000 is straining the coalition government, established last year to end the worst blood-letting in Kenya since independence from Britain in 1963.

Unity government leaders President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga — whose dispute over the presidential election triggered the crisis — have so far failed to push the creation of a special tribunal through parliament.

That means, under the terms of a government-accepted inquiry, mediator Annan should hand a sealed envelope holding the names of 10 top suspects to the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) when a March 1 deadline passes.

In a statement, Annan said the failure to create a local tribunal would “constitute a major setback in the fight against impunity and may threaten the whole reform agenda in Kenya”.

He said his panel of “Eminent African Personalities”, which mediated in Kenya’s crisis, remained convinced a Kenyan-owned and Kenyan-led process would be best for the whole country.

He welcomed promises of further efforts by Kibaki and Odinga to win over their supporters in parliament.

“It is the panel’s view that such an effort should be encouraged and carried out within the shortest possible timeframe,” he said.

SOURCED FROM REUTERS

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