LSK Calls for High Court Crimes Division

Law Society of Kenya (LSK) President Mr. Isaac Okero

By Harold Ayodo

Nairobi, Kenya: The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has called for an independent High Court Division to exclusively deal with crimes against humanity.

LSK President Mr. Isaac Okero said that the country must have mechanisms to protect citizens from recurrence of political violence and criminality after General Elections.

He said that the country has a responsibility to establish and maintain institutions that deliver substantial justice.

“The establishment of a functioning and independent High Court Division dealing with crimes against humanity is a step that would give despairing Kenyans hope,” Mr. Okero said.

He said that people responsible for tampering with witnesses and political interference of cases at the International Criminal Court (ICC) should also be brought to book.

“We are soon entering General Election season with perpetrators of post-election violence eight years ago still at large – historical injustices remain unresolved,” Mr. Okero said.

He said that victims of the 2007 post-election violence – including some internally displaced persons who received paltry monetary compensation - are still struggling with trauma.

Mr. Okero referred to the recent International Criminal Court (ICC) conclusion of proceedings against Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang saying it is not an acquittal.

No finding of guilt or innocence was made. The Court declared the proceedings a mistrial following troubling incidences of witness interference and intolerable political meddling,” Mr. Okero said.

The LSK President explained that the vacation of the charges is without prejudice to their presumption of innocence or the Prosecutor's right to re-prosecute the case at a later time. He said that the reasons given by the ICC Judges to terminate the proceedings raise more questions than answers.

“Is not the pronouncement of a mistrial and the basis thereof an indictment of the State's commitment to the Rule of Law? Do we have local mechanisms to protect us from the recurrence of political violence and criminality? Will witness tampering and political interference remain obstacles to the pursuit of justice and legal redress?” Mr. Okero posed.
The LSK President said that peace without truth and justice is a fragile peace. “Let us reflect on the reasons given, with honest and constructive self-appraisal remembering that we are soon entering a General Election season with the perpetrators of the post-election violence of eight years ago still at large, the historical injustices unresolved,”.

Mr. Okero said that the decision of the International Criminal Court in The Prosecutor V. William Samoei Ruto and Joshua Arap Sang is that the charges against the accused are vacated and the accused discharged without prejudice to their prosecution afresh in future.

-Harold Ayodo, LSK Programme Officer (Communication)