Kenyans react to Cabinet TJRC move

July 31, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 31 – The Government’s decision to settle for a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission as a means of national healing received mixed of reactions with the European Commission and the National Council of Churches of Kenya expressing their dissatisfaction.

The European Union (EU) on Friday said it was seeking a meeting with the government to discuss the Cabinet resolution where prosecution of post election violence perpetrators was rejected.

Acting Swedish ambassador Bjorn Haggmark, whose country is holding the EU presidency, told Capital News that they want to understand the fate of Waki’s recommendations on the formation of a local tribunal.

“We have constantly stated the importance of a credible, independent constitutionally protected special tribunal sitting locally. The presidency intends to discuss with the government how the proposals of the government will be taken forward,” he said.

Mr Haggmark said the EU would remain steadfast in the push for reforms and an end to impunity in Kenya.

However, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai supported the Cabinet. She said the government will only refer the perpetrators of the 2007 post election violence to the ICC if it fails to try them locally.

“I don’t think we can say the government is unable to follow the Waki Report. I’m quite sure the government will follow through, the other people will have to be tried by a local court whether we call it a special tribunal or whatever we call it,” she said.

She also said there was still enough time for the government to carry out reforms to strengthen the judiciary, local courts and the investigative arms of the government before the next general election.

She expressed concerns that it will not be easy to punish them since some are in the government.

“Some of them are in the government, asking the government to arrest them is asking some of them to arrest themselves, which is not very easy,” she said.

The environmentalist however emphasised that the perpetrators must be punished and said she believed the government will find a way of punishing everyone including the ‘big fishes’.

She appealed to the rest of the country to embrace calm and not hate each other despite the happenings of the December 2007.

The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) on the other hand said the Cabinet decision was the greatest betrayal by the government on its people and an abuse of justice.

Secretary General Reverend Canon Peter Karanja said the move to shelve the establishment of a local tribunal and evading The Hague option in trying suspects of the post election violence is a clear indication that the leaders are afraid of facing justice.

“Going the path we were told yesterday (Thursday) by the Cabinet, we should consider that they do not intend to try the suspects of the post election violence and I think there is need to pressurise the International Criminal Court (ICC) to commence investigations leading to prosecution is the surest way of nailing down culprits,” he said.

Reverend Cabon Karanja told a news conference that the proposed option of using the TJRC showed lack of commitment by government and only served to reward impunity.

He said NCCK will mobilise civil society organisations to continue demanding for proper justice by pressuring the ICC to commence investigations.

Message to the President and his Cabinet

“You have allowed your personal greed and interests to cloud your thinking to the point that you cannot realise this nation is headed for destruction unless urgent action is taken,” said Canon Karanja.

He warned the leaders and reminded them that they will be charged harshly by history even long after serving in government.

“Posterity will read in history books the role you played in undermining the rule of law in your generation,” he said.


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