UN rejects amnesty on violence
Published on March 20, 2008, 12:00 am
By Abiya Ochola
Perpetrators, financers and organisers of post-election violence should be denied amnesty, the UN has said.
In a report released on Wednesday, the UN said even though it supported the establishment of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC), it rejected a blanket amnesty for gross violators of human rights.
The global agency said it would not provide support to institutions and methods that recommended or granted amnesty for gross violation of human rights.
The UN Office for High Commissioner for Human Rights prepared the report as part of recommendations to be considered when drafting and approving legislation establishing the TJRC.
The UN said the TJRC should have the mandate to recommend criminal prosecution of perpetrators of violence.
“The commission should recommend and provide guidance to the establishment of a Government reparations programme in line with the UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law,” the agency said.
It called for international standards to be followed in the selection of the TJRC commissioners. It said TJRC’s investigative responsibilities in relation to corruption, land distribution and other historical injustices must be realistic and commensurate with resources and time assigned to it.
However, the UN was optimistic that the TJRC would lead to national healing.
“International experiences indicate that public hearings by truth commissions create national ownership and have the potential to substantially contribute to the process of reconciliation,” the UN said.
It welcomed constitutional, parliamentary, police, electoral, public finance, institutional and judicial reforms, but called for an independent oversight of the police.
It urged the Government to ensure that victims and witnesses were protected to ensure proper functioning of the TJRC.
“The crisis also revealed serious limitations of Kenyan forensic capacity and a concerted effort should be made to reinforce it,” the report says.
To prevent gender violence, the UN called for a reporting and protection mechanism and mandatory investigation into the allegations of sexual exploitation and violence in camps for displaced people.
“The Government should create centres in the camps where women can obtain health care, counselling and legal advice on sexual abuse,” it said.