Former MPs vouch for The Hague

February 6, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 6 – Constitutional Lawyer and former Kabete legislator Paul Muite has said that perpetrators of the post election violence should be tried at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Mr Muite said this is because Kenyans have lost confidence in the country’s judicial systems and so it would be useless to set up a Special Tribunal to try those behind the violence.

Speaking at a workshop on examining justice mechanisms in Kenya, the former MP said on Friday that if established, the local tribunal should only try petty offenders in the poll violence.

“The political leadership here will protect the big fish. So the tribunal should deal with the murderers, rapists or the lower people while those who are politically correct can have their days at the International Criminal Court in The Hague,” Mr Muite told the forum.

Meanwhile, former legislator Kalembe Ndile also maintained on Friday that the formation of the Special Tribunal to try post election violence perpetrators is a waste of taxpayers’ money and stressed that their names should be forwarded to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

He stated that this was the only way to ensure that justice prevails.

“If the Special Tribunal is formed, we will have let those people who killed and raped women and children go free,” Mr Ndile said.

The former MP was speaking at a press conference in Nairobi, where he stressed the need to strengthen mechanisms that ensure perpetrators of criminal acts do not get away.

“Martha Karua (Justice Minister) has forgotten that there is a law in Kenya. To kill is a crime as well as the burning of houses,” he highlighted.

“I don’t know why she is saying that these people are going to go free without being charged,” he stated.

Elsewhere, the government sponsored rights watchdog took issue with a clause in the constitution that grants immunity to a sitting Head of State, saying it will be a stumbling block for the proposed Tribunal.

According to the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), Section 14 of the constitution and another clause in Section 26 that gives powers to the Attorney General to continue or terminate court cases needs to be looked at afresh, if the Tribunal is to work effectively.

KNCHR chairperson Florence Jaoko proposed that the bill seeking to entrench the Special Tribunal in the constitution be amended to shield the unique court from these challenges.

She explained that the amendment should read that the provisions of the statute would not be inconsistent with the controversial sections of the law.

The human rights watchdog said that if the constitutional issues are not addressed expediently, it may lead to incessant litigation.

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) had last month expressed similar sentiment with regard to the jurisdiction of the High Court and urged that the mandates of the Special court run concurrently.

The LSK argued that these existing provisions could be used to frustrate the work of the Special Tribunal, which is meant to deal with the suspected perpetrators of the post election violence.

The select group of lawyers also argued that the creation of such a crucial panel could not be rushed.


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