Kenya truth commission chief Kiplagat steps aside

Bethuel Kiplagat
Image caption Bethuel Kiplagat said the tribunal would put doubts about his credibility to rest

Kenya's truth and reconciliation commission chairman has announced he is stepping aside from his post.

Bethuel Kiplagat said he wanted to allow a tribunal, set up last week to investigate his past conduct, to carry out its work.

He has denied allegations of being complicit in rights abuses committed under ex-President Daniel arap Moi.

The commission is intended to probe human rights abuses since independence in 1963.

The Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission was set up after the power-sharing deal that ended post-poll violence in 2008 in an effort address some of the root causes of the crisis.

Some 1,300 people died in the clashes after the December 2007 elections.

'Significant progress'

They were blamed on unresolved historical injustices such as distribution of land and state resources, and alleged human rights violations by previous governments and political leaders.

The International Criminal Court in The Hague is to separately prosecute the main perpetrators behind the post-poll violence.

Earlier this year, Mr Kiplagat resisted demands for his resignation by civil rights groups and prominent Africans including South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who helped mediate an end to the crisis.

Three days ago Kenya's chief justice appointed a tribunal to investigate Mr Kiplagat's conduct following a petition that was sent by his fellow commissioners.

"I see the tribunal as an opportunity to finally put any doubts about my credibility to rest once and for all," Mr Kiplagat said in a statement.

He added that the commission had made "significant progress" and was on track for hearings to start in August 2011.

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