AG: No amnesty for violence suspects

August 25, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, August 25 – Attorney General Amos Wako maintains that the government will not grant amnesty to suspects of post election violence.

Wako told the Justice Philip Waki-led Commission of Inquiry into Post Election Violence (CIPEV) that granting the suspect’s amnesty would promote the culture of impunity.

In his testimony before the Commission on Monday, Wako distanced himself from the raging amnesty debate saying he is employed to defend the law.

“I am not part of that debate but all I know is that people who committed offences will have to face the law,” he said.

“All cases that are backed with sufficient evidence will have to be prosecuted. Those with no evidence will be terminated.”

He declined to disclose on the Cabinet proceedings following discussions about the issue, citing the constitutional Secrecy Act.

“That is a top secret, I swore never to disclose matters of the Cabinet and I will not talk about them here. All I can say is that cases with evidence will have to be prosecuted,” he averred.

The amnesty debate, which seemed to fade away three months ago, was re-ignited last week by Prime Minister Raila Odinga and other Members of Parliament allied to the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).

While Odinga and a host of other ODM MP’s feel it is appropriate to grant suspects of post election violence amnesty, those allied to President Mwai Kibaki’s Party of National Unity (PNU) are of the opinion that the move will be an affront to the law.

For Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, granting amnesty to suspects of post election violence will promote the culture of impunity in the country.

“There is no way we can grant amnesty to people who committed murder and other serious offences,” he said on Saturday.

Such sentiments are shared by Justice Minister Martha Karua and other PNU-allied Cabinet Ministers and MP’s.

As the amnesty debates rages on, Capital News recently learnt that many suspects detained for various offences including murder were set free, having been released after the police opted to charge them with lesser offences that attracts bail.

A case in point involves some suspects who were arrested for the murder of a Catholic priest in Muserechi village of Mogotio constituency.

They had been charged with the murder of Father Michael Kamau Ithondeka but ended up facing alternative charges of blocking a main road.

When he appeared at the Waki Commission on Monday, the AG revealed that his office was carrying out an audit of all cases filed in relation to the post election violence.

He said he had appointed two senior officers from his office to carry out the audit with the assistance of police officers.

He told the Commission his office is keen to establish facts about complaints from all over the country that there are suspects who are still being held without being taken to court.

The officers appointed by the AG are also mandated to investigate the status of cases of suspects in remand prisons.

“We are carrying out an audit on all these cases, we want to establish the truth because I have received complaints from all over the country,” Wako said of the probe team he instituted in July.


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