US to support Kenya’s post-election violence Special Tribunal

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Confirming her county’s support for Kenya’s yet-to-be formed post-election violence Special Tribunal, United States Ambassador to Kenya, Michael Ranneberger has indicated that his government would welcome a request to provide investigative experts for the Special Tribunal.

Formation of the tribunal was one of the recommendations made by the Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence (CIPEV) which rocked the country at the start of the year.

The commission, led by Justice Philip Waki, gave the Kenya Government up to December to form the tribunal, or the matter will be forwarded to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, Netherlands.

The envoy said Kenya’s reform agenda should be part of the implementation of both the Waki Report and the recommendations of yet another commission, the Kriegler Commission, and assured that the US would be willing to fund the entire reform process over the next few months.

The Kriegler and Waki reports recommended an overhaul of the discredited Electoral Commission of Kenya and the formation of a special tribunal to investigate those suspected to have taken part or instigated the post-poll chaos.

A sealed envelope containing the names of principal suspects was handed over to former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who was the chief mediator in the Kenya peace talks.

Justice Waki presented the envelope to Annan for ‘safekeeping’ at an undisclosed UN premises.

“We are prepared to commit US$1.5 million to support electoral reform, and we would welcome a request to provide investigative experts for the Special Tribunal,” said Ranneberger.

Sparked off by the disputed 27 December 2007 presidential elections in which both incumbent President Mwai Kibaki and then opposition candidate Raila Odinga (now prime minister) claimed victory, the violence left 1,300 people dead and 350,000 displaced.

Parliament has already resolved to send the ECK commissioners packing for mismanaging the 2007 general election, and it is expected to pass a bill to pave the way for its replacement with an interim team.

The government has also formed a cabinet sub-committee mandated to work on the implementation of the Waki report.

But Rannerbeger, who was addressing the American Chamber of Commerce, Kenya, did not appear impressed by the ground covered so far, saying there is no sign of movement for a serious overhaul of the police force, which was indicted in the Waki report for taking part in rape and for failing to contain the crisis.

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