Forget The Hague or local tribunal, focus on TJRC

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The government’s apparent reluctance and the emerging refusal by MPs to pass a Bill establishing a local tribunal to try perpetrators of post-election violence may not be a bad thing after all.

In the past few days, as debate raged over whether we need to send the culprits to The Hague, there was finally mention (to my delight) of the role the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) could play in healing this nation.

I have said time and again that there is little public debate among the political class and the populace about the TJRC, whose formation has so far been shrouded with secrecy.

I now anticipate that the goings on of the past week will bring the formation of the TJRC – and the decisive role it will play as we head to 2012 – to the fore.

I have been persuaded that the formation of a local tribunal to try the perpetrators of the post-election violence would run counter to the TJRC and it is a wise idea to drop the plan.  I have been swayed after listening to the South African experience.

When the South African Truth Commission was formed, it had three pillars;

1) The Human Rights Violations Committee – its mandate was to conduct public hearings where victims gave evidence on violations they suffered.

2) Amnesty Committee
– This would grant amnesty on the basic criteria of full disclosure

3) Reparation and Rehabilitation Committee – This was to develop a reparation policy and stipulate how to implement it.

It has been argued before that the 2007-post poll crisis was not merely about a stolen election. 

A special tribunal will only deal with the post-poll violence.  What happens to the other underlying issues?

The TJRC Act provides for investigation into past abuses between December 12, 1963 and February 28, 2008.

Under this commission, we expect not just to deal with the aftermath of the election fallout, but injustices relating to land and other abuses perpetuated under the Kenyatta and Moi regimes. Is there a better way of dealing with what ails Kenya than through the TJRC?
I dare say no!

The process of appointing the TJRC commissioners has passed Parliament and now awaits appointment by the President. It is time this process got underway so that Kenyans can buy into it. 

The earlier, the better.

(This week, blogs on this website will focus on the dilemma Kenya finds itself in as we haggle over whether we need The Hague, a local Tribunal or the TJRC to avoid a repeat of the turmoil we saw last year)

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  • Andy Jacobsen

    I hear you on this one. Even though I’m not Kenyan, I share in the frustration of your generation. It is a pity that politics can stand in the way of youthful people ascending into high office. I have advice for you and Mr Miller. It’s now NEVER. If he let’s this one go, we get stuck in the same rut. Please insist on this one. PLEASE. You will do many of your generation a huge favour. It is time to rid this country of political patronage.

  • Young Turk

    Miller should not give it up that easy. He and those who are pushing for his appointment should fight it out to the very end. For how long will we just give way for the Kaparo’s,Raila’s and the rest of the wazees. They should go home and look after cattle as Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi once advised former President Moi.

  • Amina Hassan

    Fight to the bitter end Mr Miller. Kenya needs fresh impetus. Do not fail us on this one!

  • Mutua Ndunda

    I get your point Michael. The youth in this country need to go back to the drawing board. We have been beaten on this one but there is a chance to make a difference. Lets get more young people in Parliament. That way, there will be no wazees to fight nominations like that of Mr Miller. Are you prepared to take up the mantle Michael and Co?

  • A.T

    He should let it go. He can fight another day. This is because by the time politicians are through with him, he wont have a name. and as a lawyer, he needs his name to attract clients.

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