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Thursday, July 9, 2009

STOP PRESS: Annan hands over names of poll violence suspects to The Hague

Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has handed over the envelope containing the names of Kenya post-election violence suspects to The Hague.

He said that he has done so after an agreement was reached between a delegation from the Kenya Government and senior officials of the International Criminal Court in Geneva. "In light of that agreement, I wish to inform you that the Panel of Eminent African Personalities has handed over to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, the sealed envelope and supporting materials entrusted to me by the Waki Commission on 17th October 2008," said the statement addressed to Prime Minister Raila Odinga and copied to President Kibaki.

Mr Annan head a meeting with the Kenyan delegation comprising the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs Mutula Kilonzo, Lands minister James Orengo, Attorney General Amos Wako and Mr William Cheptumo, the Assistant minister for Justice. “We discussed the status of the implementation of the National Accord and progress on Agenda Four items reforms, including the modalities of the establishment of a Special Tribunal, as recommended by the Commission of Inquiry into the Post Election Violence in Kenya,” said Mr Annan. "The next day on the 3rd of July 2009, the delegation of the Government of Kenya met with senior officials of the International Criminal Court including the Prosecutor Mr Luis Moreno Ocampo, and came to an agreement."

The Kenya delegation left for Geneva, Switzerland on June 30 on a mission to convince chief mediator Kofi Annan to give the government more time to form a local tribunal. Said Justice minister Mutula Kilonzo: “This is a trip with a specific mission which we have to accomplish. It has to do with the tribunal, but I cannot reveal the details now. The consultative meeting is also meant to explore ways of tackling impunity once and for all. The post-election violence was just a tip of the iceberg. We also have to deal decisively with impunity that has been prevalent throughout post-independent Kenya.”

Opinion has been sharply divided among Kenya leaders on which way would be best to try the suspects: A local tribunal or the ICC route. Both President Kibaki and PM Odinga favour the local solution, but most MPs are opposed to the idea saying that the trial could be manipulated by politicians.

Attempts to form a local tribunal were thwarted after MPs defeated a motion in Parliament meant to pave way for a Special Tribunal in March this year.

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