Raila reignites amnesty debate

August 18, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, August 18 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has reignited the amnesty debate maintaining that post election violence suspects be released immediately.

Speaking during a Restorative Justice and International Law Conference in Nairobi Monday, the PM said the move would allow independent commissions to complete their investigations.

“The Waki and the Kriegler commissions should be given the mandate to decide on the amnesty controversy,” he emphasised.

The Prime Minister dismissed investigations by the police saying they were part of the violence and cannot provide fair investigations.

He further said there was a likelihood of favouring one side if police are allowed to investigate the perpetrators of post election violence.

“Let the people be released, the police themselves were actors to the conflict, we are not talking about amnesty, we are talking about justice, let everybody be released, and if we have to be arresting, arrest the police officers too who shot to kill,” he said.

Raila excused those arrested saying they were unsatisfied with the Electoral Commission of Kenya and demonstrated to express their anger claiming that the violence was spontaneous.

Peace and justice

At the same time, he said peace and justice was complex and requires serious considerations to guard the two.

He asked: “Should priority be given to bringing the perpetrators of past human rights violations to justice, thereby fighting the culture of impunity or is it more important to start by dealing with measures to ensure that peace and stability.”

 “The question is how we sequence this process of bringing about peace while pursuing justice. There can be no greater injustice than denying people peace.”

The Prime Minister felt that the best way to achieve restorative justice is through ensuring social, economic and redistributive justice in among all the communities.

He further urged African countries to embrace moves by the International Criminal Court in a different manner since it will enforce accountability on leaders and other powerful authorities.

“In this new order, no one can be above the law and that we all have to be responsible for our actions regardless of our status,” he said.

On the Zimbabwe issue, he said President Robert Mugabe should participate in the talks on an equal ground.

He suggested that President Mugabe should become the Head of State while opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai should take up as the leader of government.


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