AI – Kenya: Concerns about the truth, justice and reconciliation bill

Kenya: Concerns about the truth, justice and reconciliation bill


Introduction

Amnesty International has a number of serious concerns about the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission Bill of Kenya (the Bill), published on 9 May 2008 and due to be submitted for debate in Parliament. (i)

Amnesty International recognizes the decision to establish the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission in Kenya as an important first step towards ensuring accountability for past human rights violations and guaranteeing that victims of those violations know the truth, obtain justice and are provided with full reparation.

The organization welcomes the provisions in the Bill intended to ensure that the establishment and functioning of the future Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (the Commission) comply with international law and standards. Such provisions are discussed below (see para1).

However, Amnesty International is seriously concerned about several aspects of the Bill, which do not comply with international law, standards and best practices. These include:

– The provisions allowing the Commission to recommend amnesty for gross human rights violations such as torture, enforced disappearance and extrajudicial executions (para2);

– Other provisions creating obstacles to prosecutions of gross human rights violations (para3);

– The procedure for nominating Kenyan Commissioners, which does not ensure their independence, impartiality and competence (para4);

– The lack of provisions for the establishment of a comprehensive, long term and effective protection programme for victims and witnesses (para5);

– The lack of provisions authorizing the Commission to recommend a broad range of reparations for victims (para6);

– The lack of full consultation with civil society organizations, victims, human rights defenders, women, children, and persons belonging to minorities and vulnerable groups on the establishment, mandate and powers of the Commission (para9).

The establishment of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission of Kenya was decided by the parties to the Kenyan National Dialogue and Reconciliation, which defined its general framework in an agreement on 4 March 2008. (ii)

According to the Bill, the Commission’s main tasks are: establishing the facts about human rights violations committed between 12 December 1963 and 28 February 2008, recommending the prosecution of suspected perpetrators and reparations for the victims and providing a forum for reconciliation (section 5). In particular, the Commission would: investigate the violations, as well as their context, causes and circumstances; identify the individuals and institutions responsible for the violations; identify the victims; educate and engage the public; and make recommendations for reparations and prosecutions, as well as institutional, administrative and legislative reform (section 6).

This briefing is a constructive critique to the Bill, intended to contribute to continuing discussions by government officials, parliamentarians, civil society and other interested parties.

Notes:

(i) A Bill for AN ACT of Parliament to provide for the establishment, powers and functions of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, and for connected purposes (The Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission Bill, 2008), Kenya Gazette Supplement No. 34, 9 May 2008.

(ii) Kenyan National Dialogue and Reconciliation, Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, mediated agreement, 4 March 2008 (4 March agreement).

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1 Comment

  1. would like to know more of what is happening and also if you have more materials to teach people


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