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Kenyan NGOs revive anti Kiplagat battle

Posted by CATHERINE KARONGO on September 9, 2010

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 9 – Civil Society Organisations on Thursday petitioned Chief Justice Evan Gicheru to appoint a tribunal to investigate the embattled Chairman of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) Bethuel Kiplagat. Under the banner of Kenya Transitional Justice Network, the civil society groups want a judicial tribunal formed to investigate Ambassador Kiplagat over allegations of involvement in the cover-ups of the assassination of the late Foreign Affairs Minister Robert Ouko, alleged complicity in the Wagalla massacre by the military in Northern Kenya and grabbing of public property. “People think it is business as usual. We are not saying that impunity will not thrive but in the new constitutional order, those who do wrong things somehow will get punished,” said Tom Kagwe, Senior Programme Officer at the Kenya Human Rights Commission. He said that the allegations make Amb Kiplagat morally and legally incompetent to lead a reconciliation process. “Let’s give each other seven days after which we will be back here (to the Chief Justice) to ask and demand what action is being taken about this petition. I am sure in his wisdom, he will act. Let the elephant get out of the room instead of the Chief Justice,” Mr Kagwe added. He also said that the allegations had exposed the TJRC to further operational, legal and administrative bottlenecks. Mr Kagwe accused the selection panel of failing to get detailed insights into the profiles of the candidates during the recruitment process in 2008 instead making them to swear affidavits indicating their compliance with the provisions. The TJRC Act requires that no person shall be qualified as a commissioner unless they are of good character and integrity, has not been in any way involved, implicated, linked or associated with human rights violations of any kind or in any matter which is to be investigated and shall be impartial in the performance of the functions of the commission. International Centre for Policy and Conflict Executive Director Ndung’u Wainaina said that Ambassador Kiplagat had a direct interest in the work of the commission as well as its outcome making him incapable of leading the truth commission with diligence. “By us getting a new Constitution, it meant that we needed to break away from our past. This Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission was going to be a central pillar in the new constitutional dispensation. As it currently stands, this commission can only condone, endorse and enforce impunity; it cannot dismantle impunity at whatever cost,” Mr Wainaina opined. In April this year, eight commissioners of the TJRC presented a similar petition to the Chief Justice but action is yet to be taken


Kenyan NGO burgled

Posted by BERNARD MOMANYI on March 16, 2010

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 16 – Police on Tuesday said they are investigating the theft of computers that officials of a local human rights organisation claim to contain crucial information on some work it has been doing for the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the post election violence.

The computers were stolen from the offices of the International Centre for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) located in Nairobi’s Hazina Towers.

ICPC Executive Director Ndung’u Wainaina said he discovered the theft on Tuesday morning when he reported to work.

“The doors were open, and I realised the lights were on. Immediately I sensed danger and when I checked, for computers were missing,” Mr Wainaina said.

“I suspect the people who stole them (computers) must have used master keys because the doors were not broken,” he added.

ICC link

“Looking at the things they have stolen, like the computers, our conclusion is that these are people who were looking for data and information in regard to specific things,” Mr Wainaina said.

He said his organisation: “has also worked on issues touching on potential witnesses and victims. We have been holding quite a series of meetings  particularly when ICC wanted to get witnesses’ views, we really helped victims prepare their views and transmit them.”

“We were the lead organisation in terms of the special tribunal right from the beginning last year and also this time around we have also dealt a lot on issues touching on the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission, so we know that the kind of information we have been handling is information that is of interest to many people,” he said.

Central divisional CID chief Festus Malinge who led a team of investigators to the scene said: “We have visited the offices and recorded statements from the Executive Director and other employees here. We have also dusted the scene for finger prints and the matter is now under investigations.”

“It is clear that there was no breaking, so we are trying to establish how copies of the keys to these doors ended up in the wrong hands,” he added.

The division’s police commander Richard Muguai said “the matter is now under the CID and investigations are underway.”

When Capital News arrived at the offices, CID officers were dusting the scene for finger prints and collecting evidence to assist in the investigation.

The matter was also raised in Parliament by Imenti Central legislator Gitobu Imanyara who demanded a statement from the Artoney General Amos Wako.

Mr Wako said he had directed the Commissioner of Police Mathew Iteere to institute a thorough investigation.”

Assistant Internal Security Minister Orwa Ojode also told Parliament he would issue a comprehensive statement on the matter on Thursday.