NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 10 – The Kenyan Judiciary received a Sh187 million grant from The Netherlands on Monday as part of a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) managed basket fund.
The grant, Chief Registrar Gladys Shollei said, will go toward putting in place mechanisms that will expedite the hearing of cases.
“Whereas we get funding from the government to lay down the ICT infrastructure, we may get the funding from development partners to design and develop the case management system.”
Other than digitising case files, the Judiciary hopes to hire more judges and magistrates who will help avert a build-up of unheard cases and bring the courts closer to the people.
“You may find also that the government of Kenya will pay for the hiring of the judges, the infrastructure, the courts where the judges sit but then we get from our development partners money to develop bench books, sentencing guidelines which the judges can use to help them enhance efficiency when they’re presiding over cases,” Shollei said.
Chief Justice Willy Mutunga also welcomed the grant saying it would help to make the Judiciary user friendly.
“Section 27 of the Judicial Service Act empowers the Judiciary to receive gifts, grants and donations to be utilised in the realisation of its objectives. It is under these auspices that we have engaged the donor community. We look forward to a fruitful partnership that will ultimately be enjoyed by our clients, the citizens of Kenya.”
The CJ was however cognisant of the role played by Parliament in its funding. “Funding from donors compliments the funding we get from the Kenyan government and the people of Kenya. That remains our main source of funding and at this juncture I must thank Parliament for their steadfast support in resourcing our activities, including the pending one about the plane.”
The Netherlands Ambassador to Kenya Joost Reintjes lauded the Kenyan Judiciary on the strides made so far toward reforms but called for the speedier resolution of commercial cases.
Reintjes also called on the Judiciary to try the mid and low-level perpetrators of the violence that followed the 2007/2008 general election through the month old International Crimes Division (ICD) of the High Court.
“I want to reiterate the point that the accountability of the perpetrators of post-election violence is significant for fighting impunity and pursuing justice for the victims,” Reintjes said at the grant signing over ceremony.
On April 30 however, Attorney General Githu Muigai was clear that it was not set up to handle 2007/2008 PEV cases.
“This (the post-election violence) is not the primary reason why the ICD is being set up. This is a court set up to deal with cross-border crimes like piracy, human trafficking and drug trafficking among others, but if the Director of Public Prosecutions has other cases he feels are of international magnitude they will definitely be tried here as well.”
As to the cases facing President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto at The Hague, Mutunga said the Judiciary is yet to receive communication from the International Criminal Court on the possibility of the cases being heard in Kenya.