Politicians are falling over themselves proclaiming their ‘total support’ for The Hague as an option for prosecution of those who funded and commanded thugs in last year’s post-election violence.
This, they argue, would be a better and sure way of ensuring justice is served on behalf of the many innocent families that lost their loved ones, and the entire nation for the two-month anguish visited on this country.
Yet there are those who say a hybrid judicial system would be better and in this case there is increasing reference to a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission.
More and more, the Special Tribunal for Kenya as proposed by the Waki Commission of Inquiry is losing favour as an acceptable route to take.
For me, a Special Tribunal actually provides a sure way of punishing those who engineered the killing of innocent men, women and children in Rift Valley, Nyanza, Nairobi and elsewhere simply because people were ‘venting for a stolen vote’ as we were told by our leaders.
In their wisdom, Justice Philip Waki and his fellow commissioners have proposed very specific legal statutes that must be entrenched in our Constitution to ensure this tribunal is not manipulated. They also want an International Crimes Bill passed, a Witness Protection law followed to the letter and the use of international judges and a foreign prosecutor for this unique court.
These measures and others mean that if we played the ball, the Special Tribunal for Kenya would be completely withdrawn from political manipulation and ensure final justice is delivered to the actual criminals who were behind the killings.
I have been reading the Waki report and its recommendation for a Special Tribunal, and nowhere do I see mention of the youths who participated in the mayhem. Perhaps it was because the Commissioners believed a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission – which is part of the items agreed in the Serena talks – shall handle the villagers who killed their neighbours and vandalised their property.
This Special Tribunal, people, will mainly deal with the “gang of ten” who are mentioned in the secret envelop. And assuming that these people won’t take the heat alone, then their close associates will also be exposed during the trial.
I root for the Special Tribunal as opposed to The Hague because I would love to see those responsible paraded, dragged through the mud and humiliated publicly in front of all Kenyans, in Kenya!
Picture this, if a prosecutor of the calibre of Luis Moreno Ocampo (a foreigner, with no local interests) was hired for this process, and he also hired no-nonsense investigators, with proper legal backing and international goodwill, the culprits shall be investigated locally with no manipulation whatsoever.
You may argue that witnesses will begin to ‘disappear’ and it could be true. But then, how many witnesses would disappear before the person behind it is exposed? With our own “Ocampo” here in Kenya, I don’t think disappearing witnesses would hinder a thorough probe.
I believe it would only be a matter of time before investigations are completed, and a high profile prosecution process commences.
And with international judges as well, our criminals will face proper justice.
Let’s face it; a local tribunal can also set a much-needed precedence on how to conduct special inquiries in this country and show how recommended justice can be delivered.
Dear God, please let a Special Tribunal win favour with Kenyans.