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Kenyan minister goes to court over violence report

A senior Kenyan minister on Friday went to court to try and have his name deleted from a report that accuses him of participating in last year's post-election violence.

world Updated: Feb 06, 2009 22:51 IST

A senior Kenyan minister on Friday went to court to try and have his name deleted from a report that accuses him of participating in last year's post-election violence.

Newly-appointed Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, son of Kenya's founding president Jomo Kenyatta, has denied involvement in the bloodshed.

A Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) report said the minister was one of the organisers of the fighting that killed 1,500 people and displaced hundreds of thousands more, following a disputed presidential election.

Kenyatta, who is from the country's largest Kikuyu ethnic group, sought an order to "quash and annul the decision by the respondent in the said report that ... (he) participated in the planning and organisation of the said violence by organising finances to fund pro-Kikuyu organised gangs."

The disputed re-election of President Mwai Kibaki, also a Kikuyu, brought about the fighting that pitted ethnic groups that supported him with those that wanted him replaced.

In its report titled "On the brink of the precipice: A human rights account of Kenya's post-2007 election violence", the KNCHR said Kenyatta sat in meetings to plan and raise funds for retaliatory attacks by Kikuyu gangs.

Kenyatta denied any involvement in the violence and said the findings and decisions made by the commission adversely affected his reputation and other fundamental rights.

"I took the initiative to urge Kenyans to stop the wanton acts of destruction which were wrecking the country," said Kenyatta, who is also a deputy prime minister, in the papers filed in court.

Kenya's parliament is debating a constitutional amendment bill on setting up a special tribunal to try individuals bearing the greatest responsibility accused of committing crimes against humanity during the violent period.

Failure to set up the special court could see about 10 names of mostly senior personalities accused of masterminding the violence handed over to the International Criminal Court by former U.N. boss Kofi Annan for prosecution.

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