LSK wants special division to handle crimes against humanity

April 11, 2016 12:13 pm
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LSK President Isaac Okero said the division will be important to prevent occurrence of similar crimes committed after the disputed 2007 presidential election/FILE
LSK President Isaac Okero said the division will be important to prevent occurrence of similar crimes committed after the disputed 2007 presidential election/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 11 – The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) on Monday asked for the establishment of a special division in the High Court of Kenya to deal with crimes against humanity.

LSK President Isaac Okero said the division will be important to prevent occurrence of similar crimes committed after the disputed 2007 presidential election.

Overview
  • Kenya's journey to establish a division of the High Court to address election related violence began a few years ago
  • Negotiations have been taking place at various levels in preparation for the special division
  • Some of the proposals for the ICD include its mandate to tackle transnational and organised crimes such as wildlife crimes, terrorism, money laundering, human trafficking, drug trafficking and cybercrime

“The establishment of a functioning and independent High Court Division dealing with crimes against humanity is a step that would give despairing Kenyans hope,” Okero said.

In his view, the division once established, should also deal with the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) allegations of witness interference blamed on the collapse of the Kenyan cases.

He explained that without a local mechanism in place, it would be dangerous for Kenya. “We are soon entering General Election season with perpetrators of post-election violence eight years ago still at large – historical injustices remain unresolved.”

Okero further said the special division will handle issues of victims’ compensation and seek to promote healing and bring closure to them.

LSK believes with such a division in place, Kenya will address past crimes and also prevent their recurrence in future elections.

Attorney General Githu Muigai last week told Capital FM News that the government will soon launch an International Crimes Division (ICD) to deal with election related violence.

READ: Kenya to launch ICD to deal with future crimes – Muigai

With the enactment of the International Crimes Act for Kenya, Act No. 16 of 2008, the Chief Justice of Kenya is empowered to establish such a division which under Kenya’s High Court Section 8 of the International Crimes Act also has the jurisdiction to conduct trials over persons who are responsible for international crimes committed locally or abroad by a Kenyan, or committed in any place against a Kenyan.

That jurisdiction has been in place since January 1, 2009, when the International Crimes Act, 2008 became effective.

According to Muigai, the government is committed to launching the ICD to address election related violence issues and also act as a preventative measure.

Kenya’s journey to establish a division of the High Court to address election related violence began a few years ago.

READ: Cash hinders set up of international crimes court in Kenya

Negotiations have been taking place at various levels in preparation for the special division.

READ: Court for international crimes steeped in controversy

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