Annan Urges Kenya to Try Perpetrators of Violence

Kenya’s government is doing “too little” to bring to justice perpetrators of post-election violence in 2008 in the East African nation, former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said.

Annan, who led negotiations to form a coalition government that ended the violence, said today that impunity for those who instigated the clashes remains “a major problem.”

“Let me stress that bringing to justice those responsible for the post-election violence is essential to help Kenya heal its wounds and prevent such crimes from being committed again,” Annan told reporters in Nairobi, the capital. Kenya is due to hold general elections in 2012.

Allegations of vote-rigging in a December 2007 presidential vote sparked two months of ethnic clashes that killed about 1,500 people and forced 300,000 to flee their homes. Under the accord Annan mediated, President Mwai Kibaki and his political rival, Raila Odinga, formed a government and agreed to reform the police and courts, combat graft, and pass a new constitution, which was enacted in August.

Annan, who is in Kenya to attend a conference assessing the government’s progress in implementing those reforms, praised Odinga and Kibaki.

“The two leaders have set an example by consulting regularly and jointly setting out policy on important national issues,” Annan said. “In the remaining period before the elections, this must be continued and extended across the entire government.”

ICC Investigation

Kenya’s parliament blocked several attempts to establish a local tribunal to try the alleged instigators of the violence. That prompted the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, to open an investigation into the case. He has said he will present charges against as many as six Kenyans this month.

Moreno-Ocampo met Kibaki and Odinga yesterday to discuss the court’s probe, the Kenyan presidency said in a statement.

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