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AG blames bureaucracy for delays in settling reparation claims

According to the AG, the government has had challenges in meeting obligations relating to judgments, mediation or arbitration orders owing to the manner in which such funds were claimed by different government dockets in the past/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 24 – The State Law Office has blamed bureaucracy within government agencies for delays in creation of a Restorative Justice Fund as ordered by President Uhuru Kenyatta during his State of the Nation Address in March 2015.

Attorney General Githu Muigai has said the cumbersome process of obtaining money from relevant government agencies for processing by the Solicitor General presented a hurdle as far as payment of reparation claims is concerned.

“I must take some responsibility including my colleagues at the Treasury because what followed was a bureaucratic process in which there was lack of clarity on where the funds would be placed and how they would be administered,” Muigai said Friday during an event to mark the International Day for the Right to Truth concerning gross human rights violations and dignity of victims, held at a Nairobi hotel.

According to the AG, the government has had challenges in meeting obligations relating to judgments, mediation or arbitration orders owing to the manner in which such funds were claimed by different government dockets in the past.

“What has happened is that the ministry involved in a particular case, say the Interior would itself go to The Treasury, receive the funding, send the money to the AG then to the Solicitor General then the money would be disbursed. Unfortunately that system has been extremely inefficient and unjust,” he pointed out.

Muigai however said the problem has since been rectified as the Fund will now be centralized with the Treasury set to disburse at least Sh1 billion annually for reparation claims.

He further assured that victims of past injustices such as the infamous Wagala Massacre will be duly compensated once regulations for a Restorative Justice Fund are put in place.

“The draft Public Finance Management Reparation for Historical Injustices Fund Regulations 2017 will implement the framework proposed by the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC),” Muigai reveled.

The formulation of regulations for establishment of the Fund was hailed by Senior Human Rights Advisor at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) who commended Kenya for strides made in safeguarding rights of its citizens as provided for in the bill of rights.

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Marcello Favretto, told Capital FM News that the country could achieve even more as the government continues to work with civil society organizations to iron out outstanding issues.

“Kenya has made very important commitment to the human rights council and on sticking to the bill of rights of its own Constitution (2010) which well reflects the international human rights instruments,” Favretto said .

“You have the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights ( KNCHR) to monitor and ensure that things are kept on track,” she added.

The regulations, Favretto said, are in tandem with UN human rights standards adding that the OHCHR and KNCHR were involved in developing the reparation framework.

KNCHR on its part challenged the state to speed up the reparation for victims of past injustices to allow the nation to heal and “chart a path towards a shared future.”

Commission Chairperson Kagwiria Mbogori said compensation of those who suffered loss in the past was key to achieving a peaceful and prosperous future free of hostilities.

“We have worked tirelessly with Kenya Transitional Justice Network (KTJN) stakeholders, in the last four years, to seek reparations for these victims and survivors.”

Mbogori urged the head of state to mobilize support for the implementation of the TJRC report pending before the national assembly to put the matter to rest.

“The Commission, prior to the State of the Nation Address by the President, issued a state of Human Rights and Freedoms statement where we categorically called on his Excellency to support the adoption and implementation of the TJRC report,” she said while undertaking on behalf of the commission to continue engaging the three arms of government to ensure the reparations of victims and survivors of historical injustices.

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