NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 23 – Justice Minister Martha Karua on Monday said that President Mwai Kibaki was working on a reply to a petition by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) seeking the removal of Chief Justice Evan Gicheru from office.,
Ms Karua told officials from the LSK who had paid her a courtesy call at her office that they would get a response from the Office of the President in the next few days.
“A formal response is being worked on and you should get a reply in a short time. We will remain engaged to ensure reforms in the judiciary are successful,” Ms Karua stated.
The LSK together with the Civil Society movement on Friday renewed their push for the removal of the Chief Justice for failing to institute necessary judicial reforms.
In a joint statement, the LSK, the International Commission of Jurists, the Federation of Women Lawyers, and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) accused Justice Gicheru of failing to institute transparency and merit in the process of appointing judges and instead opening it up to cartels.
“The Chief Justice has played along with these cartels and connections and allowed them to take foothold on the affairs of the judiciary,” KNCHR Chairperson Florence Jaoko who read their statement, said.
The Chief Justice however vowed not to resign and told his critics not to interfere with his work. He particularly accused the Executive of interfering with his job, a claims which Ms Karua has refuted (see separate statement).
Meanwhile the LSK has offered to assist the government in the drafting of a new Bill to establish a Special Tribunal to try perpetrators of post-elections violence.
Chairman Okong’o Omogeni told Ms Karua that they still supported setting up a local tribunal and were waiting for Parliament’s reopening so that the Bill can be re-introduced.
“As a Society we remain extremely concerned on how the government is going to address the issue of impunity and punish the perpetrators of the post elections violence,” Mr Omogeni said at the meeting with Ms Karua.
In February, Parliament rejected a Constitutional Amendment Bill seeking to set up a Special Tribunal to try those behind the violence that left over 1,500 people dead. Ninety three MPs voted to shoot down the Bill..
This in effect meant that those behind the poll violence could find themselves facing trial at the International Criminal Court at The Hague.