Kenya appoints specialists to train judges before poll
* Judge names team to prepare to handle election disputes
* Post-election violence fuelled by lack of faith in courts
* Elections follow tribal alliances, animosities rising
NAIROBI, May 10 (Reuters) - Kenya has appointed a team of eight judges to help the courts prepare to handle election disputes and try to improve the credibility of the legal system before next year's presidential election.
Chief Justice Willy Mutunga said on Thursday the deadly ethnic violence that followed a 2007 election might have been avoided if Kenya had better legal system for settling disputes.
Mutunga said the Supreme Court, created by a new constitution adopted in August 2010, will handle any petition arising out of the presidential election within 14 days, while the High Court will deal with all other election petitions.
"The electoral crisis of 2007 and its aftermath was caused by numerous malpractices and outright criminal activity, but exacerbated in large part by a refusal to take disputes to the courts," he told reporters.
"We in the judiciary intend to earn the public confidence that was so dented at the last election as to discourage parties from taking disputes to court," said Mutunga, a former law school lecturer with a track record of pushing for legal reform.
The International Criminal Court has accused four prominent Kenyans, including former Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, of masterminding the violence that killed more than 1,200 people. All have said they are innocent. Continued...