, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 9 – A report by Human Rights Watch on Friday showed that Kenya has done little to bring justice to the victims of the post election violence and to deal with the middle level perpetrators.
The report affirmed that it was crucial for the government to deal with the violence to avoid a recurrence during the 2012 general election.
“If middle level perpetrators are not being held accountable anywhere, a lot of political tension at the local level will be experienced. It is important for Kenya to demonstrate they are serious to send a message that will avert violence in 2012,” Human Rights Watch Researcher for Africa Division Neela Ghoshal said.
It further accused the Kenyan police and the judicial systems of failing to carry out proper investigations and prosecutions to deal with the perpetrators.
According to the report, police officers blamed for killing 405 people, injuring more than 500 others and raping women and girls during the violence still walk free even after being identified by some of the victims.
“Human Rights Watch found that while some perpetrators were convicted for petty crimes, most of those responsible for serious crimes- and virtually everyone suspected of organising the violence have benefited from impunity,” she charged.
Though the report recognised the step by the International Criminal Court (ICC) that is dealing with six high level perpetrators, Neela felt that it is crucial for Kenya to pay attention to setting up a special mechanism within the judicial system to investigate other perpetrators.
She said the special mechanism should comprise of international and local prosecutors, investigators and judges to ensure it is insulated from political interference.
Neela also hoped that the International Criminal Court will confirm the two cases against the six Kenyan perpetrators saying it will be good learning lesson especially in next year’s elections.
“If charges against those suspects are confirmed we hope that will reduce the probability of violence this time round, because the ICC cases demonstrate there is some form of accountability that somebody else is watching and someone will be held accountable whether it is in Kenya or not,” she said.
She also called on the government to compensate victims especially those who had already won legal suits against the Attorney General.
According to Joseph Musomba an advocate from Kisumu, 20 victims of the violence in Kisumu have won their legal suits but the government has not compensated them.
He said there were 40 other victims waiting for the conclusion of their legal suits.
In Nairobi, five victims have also won legal suits to have the government compensate them, but up to now, it is yet to be realised.
Musomba who has been on the forefront giving legal assistance to victims in Kisumu complained of the government’s reluctance in obeying court directives and the difficulty in forcing it to compensate the victims.
“With time the immunity granted to the government has turned out to be impunity, people who hold anything against the government can do absolutely nothing!” he explained.
The advocate said together with the victims they have filed a constitutional petition at the High Court of Kisumu which has already been handed over to the office of the Chief Justice seeking to have a three judge bench formed to decide if action should be taken against officers who violate judgements.
According to the ICC, the post election violence in 2008 is blamed for the loss of 1,333 lives, displacement of 350,000 people and destruction of property.
High ranking individuals who include Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Head of Civil Service Amb Francis Muthaura and Postmaster General Hussein Ali are in Kenya case one whereas Eldoret North MP William Ruto, Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey and Radio Personality Joshua arap Sang are in case two.
The ICC judges are expected to make a decision in January if their charges will proceed to a full trial or not.