Page last updated at 16:23 GMT, Friday, 2 October 2009 17:23 UK

Kenya backs poll violence trials

Rioters in 2007
The violence erupted after claims the polls had been rigged

Kenya's government says it will co-operate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) to try key suspects in post-election violence.

The list of suspects has not been published but it is believed to include ministers and prominent businessmen.

On Wednesday, the ICC said it would try suspects after the government missed a deadline to set up a local tribunal.

More than 1,300 people died in the worst clashes in decades following the December 2007 presidential election.

Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo said the ICC could hold its trials in Kenya and suspects would be arrested.

The ICC can sit in Kenya and we do not have to surrender anyone we just need to arrest them, put them in cells and take them before the court when that time comes
Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo

Mr Kilonzo's remarks come ahead of a planned visit to the capital by Kofi Annan - who brokered a power-sharing deal which ended the crisis.

Meanwhile, the European Union has called on Kenya to fully co-operate with the ICC.

In a statement, the EU expressed disappointment at Kenya's failure to set up a local tribunal to try the suspects.

Last week, the US government threatened to impose travel bans on 15 senior Kenyan officials if they failed to support the country's "reform agenda".

'World example'

The BBC's Peter Greste in Nairobi says few government officials in Kenya are publicly opposed to the package of reforms that were central to the power-sharing agreement.

Repeated attempts by mediators to coax the government into setting up a local tribunal have came to nothing.

So in July Mr Annan handed to the ICC a list of those suspected of orchestrating the violence.

Earlier this week the ICC's chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said the ringleaders of the violence would face justice and Kenya would be "a world example on managing violence".

In response, Mr Kilonzo said the cabinet had taken the decision to fulfil its legal obligations under the Rome Treaty.

"The ICC can sit in Kenya and we do not have to surrender anyone we just need to arrest them, put them in cells and take them before the court when that time comes," Mr Kilonzo told journalists.

But the BBC's Josphat Makori in Nairobi says it is not clear whether Kenya would agree to send any suspects to The Hague, if the ICC were to insist that the tribunal should be held there.

On Sunday, Mr Annan is expected to meet coalition partners President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to drive the process forward.

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