KNCHR POSITION ON AMNESTY FOR ALLEGED PERPETRATORS OF POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE

KNCHR POSITION ON AMNESTY FOR ALLEGED PERPETRATORS OF POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE
I. Introduction
Recently, a debate in Kenya has raged regarding whether persons arrested in the wake of the post election violence should be prosecuted or granted amnesty. These persons comprise mainly youths from Rift Valley, Nyanza, Coast, Central and Nairobi Provinces who are alleged to have committed diverse offences between December 27th and February 28th. There are conflicting figures as to how many youths are being held and the offences they are alleged to have committed. According to a statement attributed to Agriculture Minister Ruto, around 12,000 youths are being held in police and prison custody following the violence. However, the police dispute this figure and claim that less than 1000 people are in custody.
II. The different shades of arguments
1. One argument made, supporting the case for amnesty, is that by doing what the youths are alleged to have done, they contributed to the formation of the grand coalition government and it therefore does not make sense to have the youths languishing in jail while the politicians they ‘fought for’ enjoy power. It has also been argued that holding the youths in custody discriminates against the poor since politicians who mobilized the youths to those actions are themselves enjoying their liberty.
2. Another argument advanced is that ‘host communities’ are unlikely to cooperate with the return of the internally displaced people (IDPs) while their own sons are languishing in jail. It is a compelling argument from the point of view that the situation is still volatile in some of the regions with some locals threatening not to allow the IDPs to return. Indeed violence has broken out since the return of some IDPs in places like Molo. However this argument is countered by those who say that Kenyans have a right to property and to settle anywhere in the republic and the government should not be blackmailed into releasing alleged perpetrators on the pain of communities sabotaging the IDP return programme.
3. A third argument, rejecting amnesty, suggests that granting amnesty to the suspects would encourage impunity and threaten the rule of law. This would be tantamount to abolishing civilized society and going back to the rule of the jungle. This would also encourage organized violence.
III. Amnesty in other jurisdictions Continue reading

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KNDR – Panel of Eminent African Personalities – Press Statement

PRESS STATEMENT

Panel of Eminent African Personalities

Nairobi, 29 April 2008

A useful and constructive session of the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation took place today. It was chaired by Hon. Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi in the absence of Ambassador Oluyemi Adeniji, who is in Addis Ababa on an African Union related mission.

The session dealt with Agenda Item Four on long-term issues and solutions; the Commission of Inquiry on Post-Election Violence; the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission; the National Ethnic and Race Relations Commission; the draft Coalition Agreement; and the Constitutional Review Bill.

Continue reading