Kenya tribunal to punish organisers of poll violence

The organisers of Kenya's post-election violence may be barred from politics or face lengthy jail sentences under a draft law to set up a special tribunal.

The disputed re-election of President Mwai Kibaki nearly a year ago brought two months of violence that left 1,300 people dead, made 300,000 homeless, and shook the region's biggest economy. Under pressure from Western donors and Kenyan public opinion, the coalition government formed in April is heeding the recommendation of an independent inquiry by Judge Philip Waki to form a tribunal to punish the culprits. A secret list containing the names of 10 senior politicians and businessmen suspected by the Waki team of orchestrating the violence will be sent to the International Criminal Court in The Hague if Kenya fails to create such a court by early 2009. A draft Bill to create the court says: "The special tribunal will look into the prosecution of persons bearing the greatest responsibility for genocide, gross violations of human rights and crimes against humanity." The Bill was published in local media but has still to be debated in Kenya's parliament. "Persons convicted of crimes by the tribunal shall in addition to the prison terms be barred from holding any public or elective office in Kenya," the draft law says. Since independence in 1963, this nation of 36 million people has held numerous inquiries into accusations of land-grabbing, political violence and corruption, but few have resulted in concrete changes or brought perpetrators to account. reuters

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