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Annan backs Kenya riot tribunals

Kofi Annan: "They are using scare tactics to protect themselves"

Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan says the leaders of Kenya's post-election violence should face trial.

The key perpetrators are to be tried at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, but Mr Annan said it was vital that others were tried in Kenya.

Mr Annan helped mediate a peace deal after the 2008 violence in which 1,300 were killed and 300,000 displaced.

He also warned that Kenya needs to speed up reforms if a repeat of the communal riots was to be avoided.

At the end of his three-day visit to Kenya, Mr Annan said the government had assured him it would collaborate with the ICC.

But he said he also supported the establishment of a local Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

"It is not either a local tribunal or the International Criminal Court. It is both. Both are needed," he said.

Risk of violence

The BBC's Will Ross in Nairobi says many Kenyans feel very little has been done to ensure the country stays on a peaceful path, especially as no one has yet been brought to justice for the 2008 killings.

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But Mr Annan said Kenyan authorities had "downplayed" reports that rival ethnic groups were arming in readiness for the 2012 poll.

"They admitted there is an increased level of criminality in certain parts of the country, and efforts are being made to bring it under control," he said.

He said that some progress on reforms had been made by the coalition government, but warned that fresh violence was "a serious risk if tangible reform is not achieved".

Violence erupted after incumbent President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner of the December 2007 elections, sparking accusations from his opponent Raila Odinga that the election was rigged.

The ensuing political violence soon turned into reprisal ethnic killings, fuelled by long-held communal tensions and unresolved land disputes.

After weeks of bloodshed, the two men formed a power-sharing government with the president keeping his job and Mr Odinga brought in as prime minister.



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