TJRC to release public hearings schedule

January 24, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 24 – The Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission will in the next few days release a timetable of it\’s much anticipated public hearings which are expected to start in August.

The Commission\’s acting chairperson Tecla Namachanja said on Monday that they were in the process of analysing statements received from Kenyans in preparation for the hearings stage.

"Later this week, the Commission will announce the schedule of its hearings through which we shall create a public platform for victims, experts, community leaders and others to tell their stories to the people of Kenya," Ms Namachanja.

She also said the commission has collected 20,000 statements and 301 memoranda from witnesses and victims of past injustices which would be investigated, verified and form the basis for hearings and recommendations.

According to Ms Namachanja the Commission is well prepared for the final leg of its work, which will be dominated by the hearings and completion of its report and recommendations.

"The TJRC is confident that we are going to receive 30,000 statements of historical injustices, the commission is on course and come the end of this month we are going to conclude our statement taking process," she said.

She said she was confident that the requisite government funding for the commission would be made available.

The TJRC is expected to wind up its mandate in November but, so far, it is still collecting witness statements before it starts conducting public hearings into all the injustices and human rights abuses witnessed in the country between 1963 and early 2008.

Since its establishment in 2009, the TJRC has been rocked by leadership wrangles which saw the deputy chair, lawyer Betty Murungi, resign saying that she found it difficult to discharge her duties given the allegations Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat was facing.  Amb Kiplagat eventually stepped aside as chairman and a Tribunal has been formed to investigate allegations against him.

Another commissioner, Prof Ronald Slye, also threatened to resign, citing similar grounds only to change his mind once Mr Kiplagat announced that he was stepping aside to face his accusers at the tribunal.

Formed in August 2009 to investigate past injustices and lead reconciliation efforts in the country, the TJRC is at a crossroads because the tribunal formed to probe the conduct of its chair, Mr Kiplagat, is yet to start its work, halfway through its six-month lifespan.

The mandate of the TJRC is to inquire into human rights violations including those committed by the state, groups or individuals. It includes, but is not limited to politically motivated violence, assassinations, community displacements, settlements and evictions.

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