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Set up tribunal or lose donor support, State told

By | July 17th 2009
By | July 17th 2009

By David Ohito and Fatuma Fugicha

The international community has sent a strong message to the Government to establish a local tribunal by September or lose donor support.

In a terse message to President Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga and the Cabinet, 25 European Union countries, Canada and the US said they were watching every step towards creation of a local tribunal.

The EU is Kenya’s largest trading partner and the US is the single biggest donor.

The message came a day after envoys met Kibaki at Harambee House and asked him to ensure reforms were implemented.

Without mincing words, the diplomats ruled out the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) as remedy to impunity and asked politicians to focus efforts on enacting the special tribunal.

Waki recommendations

"To gain the confidence of the Kenyan public and to attract international support, such a tribunal will need to follow the Waki recommendations and meet international standards," said Ms Anna Brandt, Swedish ambassador, who chairs the EU presidency in Kenya.

"We encourage the Government and Parliament to establish the independent Special Tribunal urgently, but if they are unwilling, we urge the Government to refer the situation to the ICC at The Hague," the diplomats told the Press.

Their news conference was attended by Mr Eric van der Linden of European Commission, Ms Elisabeth Barbier of France, Mr Pierandrea Magistrati (Italy), Ms Elisabeth Jacobsen (Norway), Mr Luis Lorvao (Portugal), Mr Milan Zachar (Slovakia), Mr Nicholas Martin Cinto (Spain) and the charge’ d’Affaires of UK Louise de Sousa and her Danish counterpart Henning Nohr.

The envoys expressed confidence the ICC would continue its initial work with a view to carrying out investigation and when warranted by evidence, prosecute persons responsible for the post-election violence.

Dutch ambassador Laetitia van den Assum said: "The TJRC cannot be a substitute to end impunity and the National Accord and the Waki Commission recommended a tribunal to deal with perpetrators of violence."

"We support the National Accord and its proposals so that such difficult times are brought to an end. Kibaki and Raila endorsed the Waki Report," she added.

Canadian High Commissioner Ross Hynes reminded Kenyans about US President Barack Obama’s speech on good governance and the need to end impunity.

"We are not prejudging Kenya, but we will go step by step in watching what the Government does."

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