Thursday, October 8, 2009



October 7 2009

Principals should take charge of the reform process, says Annan.
Mediator says three-tier approach to realise justice for poll chaos acceptable.
Chief mediator Kofi Annan warned Kenya on Wednesday that the time to carry out reforms was running out and urgency was needed to avoid a repeat of violence in the next elections.

"The window for reforms is rapidly closing. Kenya is past the halfmark of the formation of the coalition government and the next electoral cycle," said Mr Annan at a news conference at Serena Hotel at the end of his three-day visit to Kenya.

He warned that the pace of reforms must be accelerated to avoid a "recurrence of the crisis and violence that engulfed the country in 2007."

Mr Annan said that while progress had been made, urgency was required if Kenya was to avoid going back to the brink and urged President Kibaki and Mr Odinga to take charge and spearhead reforms.

He outlined commendable steps in the reform process such as the formation of the Interim Independent Election Commission, the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission and the National Cohesion and Integration Commission.

He said that the committee of experts on law review will soon publish a draft constitution adding that the process of enacting a new constitution should be done in a "constructive and harmonious manner."

"The IIEC and the IIBRC are a productive and harmonious foundation that will ensure the next elections are fair, transparent and peaceful."

Mr Annan said that his meeting with the two principals- President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga- had reassured him of their recognition of the strength and spirit of reconciliation and added that he hoped the "new spirit will serve as a beacon for politicians and Kenyans."

He thanked those that he had met on his busy itinerary for their "firm and informative" input and acknowledged the "concerns and observations of Kenyans."

As he left the country, Mr Anann insisted that the government must set up a local tribunal to try suspects of the chaos that claimed over 1,300 lives and left over 600,000 people displaced.

Those who bear the greatest responsibility for the violence will be tried at the International Criminal Court at the Hague, the Netherlands, the chief mediator emphasised.

"It is not either a tribunal or the International Criminal Court. It is both. Both are needed," he told reporters.
Mr Annan revealed that he had impressed on President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga that the formation of a local tribunal or an alternative judicial mechanism meeting international standards was a must.


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“I told them that a local mechanism cannot be avoided because if you don’t do that, most people who committed crimes during the violence will get away with it. It is extremely important that if you want to tackle impunity, the trials must be held among the communities where the crimes were committed to send a powerful message that impunity will not be tolerated and that we mean business,” he said.

The chief mediator said that the two principals had assured them of their readiness to welcome the ICC chief prosecutor, Mr Louis Moreno Ocampo to the country this month.

“They said they are ready to collaborate with ICC and are ready to receive Mr Ocampo,” he said.

He also said that he had studied the three tier approach suggested by the ICC for the trial of the ringleaders of post election violence and found it acceptable.
The three tier approach proposes that those with the highest responsibility for the violence stand trial at the Hague while those with lesser responsibility be tried at a local tribunal. The Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) will on the other hand spearhead the process of confessions and reconciliation to achieve national healing.

The chief mediator said that the two principals had clarified that the TJRC mandate will not be amended to include the prosecutions of those suspected to have committed atrocities.

"I welcome the clarification by President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga that the mandate of the TJRC will not be amended to include the prosecution of post election violence perpetrators."

Mr Annan revealed that the two principals had admitted that there were some forces within the government who were standing in the way of reforms and vowed to tame them.

“There is a crisis of confidence in the political leadership. It is a problem only politicians can solve and I urge the president and the prime minister to lead the way,” he stated.

He, however, stated that he was impressed with the greater urgency demonstrated by the two principals in achieving the reform agenda spelt out in the national accord and urged them to maintain the spirit saying the government would be judged by its record in achieving the reforms. "It remains the benchmark in which Kenya will be judged."