Annan Wants Local Tribunal, ICC to Try Kenya's Post-election Violence Perpetrators
By James Butty
08 October 2009
Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has reportedly said that perpetrators of Kenya's 2007 post-election violence should be tried both by a local tribunal and at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
Annan, who is currently visiting Kenya, mediated the agreement that ended the country's post-election violence and led to the formation of the current national unity government.
Egara Kabaji, director of public affairs and communication at the Kenyan foreign ministry, said it is in Kenya's interest to set up a local tribunal.
"First and foremost, the Kenyan government will be abdicating its responsibility if at all it decides that it is actually the International Criminal Court that is going to do that kind of thing. And I think what Kofi Annan is saying is stating the obvious, that you are not going to surrender to the international community to do this for Kenya," he said.
Annan reportedly said Wednesday in Nairobi that the ICC would likely try a handful of the key perpetrators of the 2007 post-election violence while a local tribunal would try the rest.
But Kabaji said he does not support the idea of using the ICC to try any Kenyan.
"By doing that we are actually saying we are unable to solve the problems of this country. This is a strong indictment of ourselves," Kabaji said.
Many Kenyans have said in recent polls that they would prefer the ICC over a local tribunal for fear powerful government officials might interfere with the work of a local tribunal.
Kabaji said the Kenyan government should move to protect the integrity of any local tribunal.
"The local tribunal should actually be shielded from interference by those powerful elements, and actually criminal elements within our system," Kabaji said.
He said there's a need for a national dialogue for Kenyans to get to the root of the issues that have divided them as a nation.
"The problem of tribalism, the problem of ethnicity these are the issues that we have to deal with. We have to ask ourselves what actually makes it possible for a Kenyan to look at another and say look you are my enemy," he said.
Kabaji said Kenya's ethnic and other problems have a lot to do with the country's history after independence.
He reiterated that he doesn't think taking 15 or 100 people to the ICC in The Hague would be able to solve Kenya's ethnic problems.
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