On 3rd May 2013, the Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) presented its final report to President Uhuru Kenyatta. The TJRC recommended that the President issue an official, public and unconditional apology to women, children and minority and indigenous communities in Kenya whose rights were grossly violated and for the State’s systematic discrimination against these groups and communities. Despite the president’s dalliance in conveying the apologies which were to be done within six months of the issuance of the TJRC report, he finally did recognized the report on Thursday, 26, March, 2015 during the State of the Nation address.
He did mention that he had instructed Treasury to establish a 10 billion shillings Fund over the next three years to be used for restorative justice. In addition, for the first time the president apologized to the public. “To move forward as one nation … I stand before you today on my own behalf, that of my government and all past governments, to offer the sincere apology of the Government of the Republic of Kenya to all our compatriots for all past wrongs… I seek your forgiveness and may God give us the Grace to draw on the lessons of this history… to unite as a people and, together … embrace our future as one people and one nation…”
Established in the aftermath of the harrowing events of the 2007/2008 post-election violence, the TJRC was tasked with inquiring into gross violations of human rights and historical injustices that occurred in Kenya between independence on 12th December 1963 and the Coalition Agreement signed on 28th February 2008.
Kituo Cha Sheria seeks to draw your attention to the summarized version of this TJRC report and most particularly on certain recommendations, which include;
1. The government, through the President, to formally acknowledge and apologize to Kenyans for gross violations of human rights for the period between 12 December1963 and 28 February 2008;
2. State security agencies (including the National Police Service, National Defence Forces, and National Intelligence Services) to apologize to Kenyans for gross violations of human rights for the period between 12 December 1963 and 28 February 2008 – e.g. for their involvement in extra-judicial killings, arbitrary and prolonged detention, torture and sexual violence;
3. Judiciary to apologize to Kenyans for failure to address impunity and performing its role of deterrence to prevent perpetration of gross human rights violations for the period between 12 December 1963 and 28 February 2008;
4. Wagalla air strip in Wajir, in consultation with the community, to be made a national monument to commemorate victims of Wagalla Massacre;
5. Nyayo House basement to be made a museum and monument to commemorate victims of torture by State security agents;
6. Implementation Committee to create a sub-committee to call for and consider proposals for memorialization. and for funding commemoration of past violations; and
7. Creation of a National Human Rights Day on 10 December to coincide with International Human Rights Day.
The president’s apology seeks to respond to the first recommendation, we believe that the other recommendations shall be addressed and most particularly recommendation number 7, “creation of a National Human Rights Day on December, 10 to coincide with International Human Rights Day.” We believe that all factors in the interest of pursuing peace, promoting access to justice, and enabling reconciliation will be expedited.
The end product, a report comprising over 2200 pages, is structured into four separate volumes: the first volume (Volume I) provides an account of how the TJRC was formed, how it interpreted its mandate and what challenges were faced whilst carrying out this mandate; the second volume (Volume II), itself divided into three sub-volumes, focuses on the major violations of bodily integrity committed during the mandate period (including unlawful killings and enforced disappearances, unlawful detention, torture and ill-treatment and sexual violence), historical injustices and violations of socio-economic rights, and violations against groups entitled to special protection, including women and children, as well as minority groups and indigenous communities; the third volume (Volume III) addresses issues relating to national unity and reconciliation; and the fourth volume (Volume IV) catalogues the TJRC’s findings and recommendations, including those relating to its implementation mechanism and reparations framework.
Given the lengthy, complex nature of the report, Kituo Cha Sheria through this publication seeks to encapsulate the key issues, findings, and recommendations presented by the TJRC. The purpose of this being to not only recognize the human rights violations perpetrated throughout the mandate period and to date, but to also provide a wider audience with access to pertinent information of this kind and allow for active participation in the reconciliation and healing process of the country.
As the president put it, “The time has come to bring closure to this painful past. …. The time has come to allow ourselves the full benefit of a cohesive, unified and confident Kenya, as we claim our future.”
We also believe that the information in this booklet shall enlighten every citizen to understand the essence of the apology and to urge the president to ensure the instruction to the Treasury to establish a 10 billion shillings Fund over the next three years to be used for restorative justice come to fulfillment. Click here to download the TJRC report http://kituochasheria.or.ke/gallery/publications/english-publications/
By; Kituo Team.