, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 30 – The Cabinet on Thursday rejected prosecution of post election violence perpetrators and instead opted for Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) as a means of national healing.
After a day-long meeting at State House Nairobi, President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga addressed a rare press conference at State House Nairobi, where they said the TJRC Act would be amended to make it more effective.
“Cabinet was concerned that while it will not stand for impunity in the pursuit of justice, the country should equally pursue national healing and reconciliation. This does not in any way reduce its desire to punish impunity,” said the President.
The Ministers convened at State House on Thursday morning, where they discussed the options available for dealing with the crimes committed during post-election violence.
The options, according to President Kibaki, were a Special Tribunal, referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC), withdrawal from the Rome Statute or establishing a special division of the High Court.
“The Cabinet took all the circumstances into account, including providing the enabling environment for the ongoing reform agenda that encompasses the delivery of a new constitution by next year, electoral reforms, boundary reforms, and land reforms,” said the Head of State.
He said the Cabinet remained steadfast its commitment to the international Criminal Court and will cooperate and fulfill its obligations to the Court under the Rome Statute.
They agreed to undertake accelerated and far-reaching reforms in the Judiciary, police, and investigative arms of Government to try the perpetrators of post-election violence locally.
“Cabinet is confident that with proper healing and reconciliation, Kenya will not face the events of last year’s post-election violence.”
From Mr Kibaki’s answers it was also evident that the government will not invite the ICC to carry out any investigations.
When asked if ICC Prosecutor Moreno Ocampo will investigate the perpetrators in the Waki envelope, he said: “You will ask him when you meet him, these ideas you have, they are strange and they are not ideas from us.”
“We are not saying anything about any of the outside things and we are not being given anything by anyone, we have the laws in Kenya and the laws have all these things,” he said
He also said the Local Tribunal Bill will not be tabled in Parliament.
When asked if the Cabinet had abandoned the formation of a local tribunal, he said: “Don’t bring what you were discussing from somewhere; we have not abandoned anything, abandoning means we had passed it as a law.” But he remained non committal on any option.
He also said Kenya was capable of trying anybody: “There is nobody who needs to be tried that we can’t try them in Kenya. We can try them.”
Prime Minister Raila Odinga who also addressed the briefing echoed President Kibaki’s sentiments saying the Cabinet will propose appropriate amendments to the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Act to make the TJRC more representative and effective.
“This country will carry out reforms on the investigative arms of the government so that it can try some of the perpetrators locally, but we are also laying a lot of emphasis on truth justice and reconciliation,” Mr Odinga said.