Think TJRC, urges Kiplagat

July 7, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 7 – Kenya has several other options to deal with the perpetrators of the 2007 post election violence besides a local tribunal and The Hague, according to a renowned peacemaker.

Former Ambassador Bethwel Kiplagat, in an interview with Capital News said a Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission was also an important way of dealing with the perpetrators, although he insisted on thorough negotiations, confession and agreement between the accused and the victims.

Blog: Forget The Hague or Local Tribunal, focus on TJRC

“To forgive somebody, one must say I’m willing to come forward and I accept I committed the atrocity, please forgive me,” he said.

He said forgiveness will also be conditional such as the mode of compensation or restitution for the losses incurred by the victim but noted that it will entirely depend on the victim’s willingness to let go.

But apologies must be genuine and sincere: “It cannot be done just vaguely, it was serious since people were killed and we cannot just forgive and forget; it is not easy.”

The retired diplomat said internally displaced persons were still suffering in camps, while others were still struggling to come to terms with the happenings of the fatal violence.

He noted that not everyone will be willing to forgive, “In life there are people, who may find it difficult to forgive, but we have to work with them, we can’t blame them, we should support them.”

During the 2007 post election violence about 1,500 people were killed and 650,000 others were displaced. To date there are thousands of them who have not been resettled.

Amb Kiplagat said it was very hard for the families who lost their victims to move on and also for the ones who lost their homes.

The former Ambassador also said he is pleased that Kenyans, the international community and different groups were in agreement that serious atrocities were committed and that action to put impunity to an end was vital before the next general election.

He said the only point in contention was how to punish the perpetrators.

He noted that it was also hard to agree on any option because the country itself was not sure which way to go, whether form a local tribunal, go to The Hague, have a Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission or use Kenyan courts.

Ambassador Kiplagat believes there is still time and with political and push by the public the perpetrators will be exposed.


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