Kenyan Parliament Hinders Justice Process
Freedom House strongly condemns the Kenyan Parliament’s vote to permit the National Assembly to alter the content of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission’s (TJRC) report and potentially remove mention of prominent persons. Freedom House urges Parliament to abstain from amending the report and instead support further investigations and carry out the TJRC’s recommendations.
Parliament’s Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs had given members of Parliament (MPs) permission to debate the TJRC report, but also insisted that the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Amendment Bill – which amends the TJRC Act of 2008 – prohibits MPs from altering the report. However, MPs voted last week to delete the prohibition, paving the way for political manipulation of the report’s findings and recommendations.
“Altering the content of the report undermines the process of transitional justice underway in Kenya,” said Lisa Davis, Freedom House’s senior advisor for rights and justice initiatives. “In fact, no government to date has attempted to alter a truth commission’s final report.”
“It is unfortunate that Parliament has opened the door for the report’s findings and recommendations to be altered, rather than implementing the numerous recommendations in the report, including reparations for victims,” said Ronald Slye, one of the three international commissioners of the Kenyan TJRC. “The report is based on years of engagement with the voices of Kenyans from all walks of life; it is a grave disservice to them that Parliament is more interested in suppressing parts of the report rather than listening to the voices of their constituents.”
Freedom House recommends that the government distribute the original report so that citizens can monitor the response to its recommendations.
The TJRC published its final report in June 2013, which recommended the prosecution of hundreds of senior government officials and politicians for their involvement in the 2007-08 post-election violence and other injustices. President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto are named in the report in connection to some of the violence, for which they are on trial at the International Criminal Court, in The Hague.
The report calls for investigations of former Members of Parliament, former provincial commissioners, and senior military and police officers implicated in violence, land confiscation, torture and political assassinations.
Kenya is ranked Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2013, Freedom House’s survey of political rights and civil liberties, Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2013, and Free in Freedom on the Net 2013.
For more information on Kenya, visit:
Freedom in the World 2013: Kenya
Freedom of the Press 2013: Kenya
Freedom on the Net 2013: Kenya
Blog: Freedom at Issue
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Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.