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Top diplomat to handle Kenya reconciliation

Discussion in 'Kenyan News and Politics' started by ByaseL, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. B

    ByaseL JF-Expert Member

    Jul 23, 2009
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
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    Oliver Mathenge,
    Daily Monitor Correspondent

    A renown diplomat, African peacemaker and a man of eloquence has got the job to test his skills. Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat, a career diplomat and well-known peace negotiator was yesterday appointed the chairman of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission to serve for two years.

    Kenya’s Parliament approved the setting up of the TJRC last year with a wide mandate: to investigate gross violations and abuses of human rights.
    The cases to be investigated include abductions, disappearances, detentions, torture, sexual violations, extrajudicial killings, murder, ill-treatment and loss of property suffered by any person between independence and end of last year’s post-election violence.

    Mr Kiplagat’s deputy will be Ms Betty Murungi, a Harvard-trained lawyer and international human rights law expert who has experience in similar processes in Sierra Leone and elsewhere in the world.

    The other Kenyan commissioners are Margaret Shava, Tom Ojienda, Ahmed Sheikh Farah and Tecla Namachanja. The foreign appointees are Judge Getrude Chawatama from Zambia, Mr Berhanu Dinka from Ethiopia and Prof Ronald Slye from the US.

    The TJRC Act says that the vice-chairman is to be appointed by the commissioners. Mr Kiplagat described the job as enormous but expressed confidence that his team would deliver.

    “We will cover events of the past, since 1963 which will include historical injustices, corruption and ethnic clashes,” he said. Independence Kenya has a long story of assassinations, state-sponsored ethnic violence, police executions and disrespect for human rights.

    Killings such as those of former MP JM Kariuki and Foreign Minister Robert Ouko remain unresolved despite decades of police and parliamentary investigations and lots of public speculation.

    Investigating the plunder of public resources by successive regimes is a major task in its own right, given the pervasive theft by generations of the political elite and top civil servants.

    Mr Kiplagat, along with nine other commissioners, was appointed by Kenyan President Kibaki, to serve for two years. Mr Kiplagat is a former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He also served as the special envoy to the Somalia Peace Talks. He has been Kenya’s envoy in France and the UK and was deputy General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in Kenya.

    His selection according to the parliamentary departmental committee on administration of justice and legal affairs was due to his vast knowledge in conflict management.

    The TJRC team will identify people whose rights were abused and decide how they are to be compensated. It will also investigate economic crimes and provide redress in respect of crimes of a sexual nature against female victims.

    The commission will recommend prosecution of persons responsible for or involved in human rights and economic rights violations and abuses.
    Mr Kiplagat has an international profile and is respected for his work in both the Sudan and Somalia peace processes.

    The appointments came amid a raging debate over whether those guilty of crimes against humanity during the post-election violence should be tried or be taken before the TJRC.
  2. N

    Nyauba JF-Expert Member

    Jul 23, 2009
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    Good move..

    home grown democracy can prevail through this kind of step.