Kibaki assents laws for vetting judges

March 21, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 21 – President Mwai Kibaki on Monday set a stage for the clean-up of the Judiciary after assenting to two key Bills which are expected to herald comprehensive judicial reforms in the country.

Speaking after signing the Bills into law, President Kibaki expressed confidence that the Judicial Service Bill and the Vetting of Judges and Magistrates Bill provided for the inception and attainment of a modern judicial service as well as a vibrant administration of the Judiciary.

The ceremony of assenting to the Bills was attended by among others the Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende, Attorney General Amos Wako, Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo and Chairman of the Constitution Implementation Commission Charles Nyachae.

Emphasising that the vetting process would be carried out in a fair, transparent and accountable manner, the President said the Bills outlined provisions on the appointment and removal of judges and mechanisms of instituting discipline among other judicial staff.

The President reiterated that the process should not be viewed as a witch-hunt but should rather be treated as a process of renewing national institutions for efficient and optimal performance.

Assuring of the government\’s unwavering commitment to the full implementation of comprehensive judicial reforms, President Kibaki promised that the reforms would be carried out with due respect to the principle of separation of powers among the arms of the government.

The Head of State noted that the entire vetting process is expected to take up to one year unless the National Assembly extended the period.

The Judicial Service Bill provides for measures that give the Judiciary financial autonomy required for effective management of its matters and programmes.

The Bill also establishes the National Council on Administration of Justice charged with the mandate of formulating policies relating to the administration of justice.

On the other hand the Vetting of Judges and Magistrates Bill provides for the establishment, membership, functions and powers of the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board.

The Board is mandated to investigate and hold inquiries into the conduct of judges and magistrates to assess their suitability to continue serving in the judiciary.

Other Bills that the President assented to, today (Monday) were the Tea (Amendment) Bill and the Traffic (Amendment) Bill.

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