Speaker hits out at Kenyan State agencies

June 7, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 7 – The State Law Office and Police Department have been put on the spot for failing to prosecute ‘small crimes’ committed during the post election violence despite a Cabinet resolution made a year ago.

Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende re-ignited the debate on the prosecutions and accused the Executive of perpetuating impunity by failing to institute charges over crimes he claims have evidence.

“Offences such as murder and arson are covered within our laws. We have no excuse on this one,” he said.

He regretted that over two years after the bloody violence, the government had failed to act despite the fact that those crimes are covered under the penal code.

“People who committed murder in the Rift Valley and those who were involved in arson ought to have been arrested and prosecuted,” he said adding that: “The problem is not the absence of the law but its implementation.”

Mr Marende spoke when he hosted the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay at Parliament Buildings. He said the rejection of the Special Tribunal Bill by Members of Parliament was due to the fear of a corrupt non-committed justice system.

“As I see it, MPs are waiting to see the International Criminal Court take action then we can go ahead with the setting up the tribunal to deal with the lesser culprits,” he said and added: “Impunity in this country has not been contained. It has permeated all sectors even in the observance of the law.”

Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo who was present at the meeting said he was disappointed by the failure to act by the two State agencies.

“I have said it before and I will say it again that I am disappointed about the lack of prosecutions,” Mr Kilonzo reiterated.

“We will check with the Attorney General because he is the prosecutor,” he said adding: “As soon as we put the pressure where it belongs, the better.”

Ms Pillay who is in the country for a two-day visit will meet President Mwai Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Internal Security Minister George Saitoti in her assignment to assess the human rights matters. She will also meet officials of the Kenya National Human Rights Commission.

The High Commissioner launched a plea to the government to establish a fresh bid towards the setting up of a special tribunal to probe the 2008 violence saying the ICC process will not be enough.

She said the government had a responsibility to give justice to the victims and this should not just be left to the ICC.

“The country will obviously address a few cases and the question remains how the country is going to address the justice issues and demand for justice from victims who suffered the violence,” she said.

Mr Kilonzo said he would re-introduce the Special Tribunal Bill after the August 4 Constitution referendum.


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