Poll violence was planned, says KNCHR
Published on March 28, 2008, 12:00 am
By Cyrus Kinyungu
A human Rights watchdog has claimed that post-election violence was premeditated.
The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) said its investigation showed that the violence was not spontaneous, as earlier thought.
“The violence was not spontaneous. In certain cases there was evidence of prior organisation,” said KNCHR’s vice chairperson, Ms Florence Jaoko.
Jaoko said the Government and the Opposition were to blame for the premeditated violence.
Speaking at KNCHR offices while giving a progress report on the investigation, Jaoko ruled out any possibilities of amnesty for human rights and international law violators.
“Rewarding violence simply begets more violence. We reiterate our position that violence must not be rewarded or accepted as a tool for gaining political power,” she said.
The investigation began on January 25 following the violence that rocked the country after the disputed presidential elections. More than 1,000 people were killed and thousands others uprooted from their homes.
Those evicted from their homes are living in camps across the country and some as refugees in Uganda.
Yesterday, the commissioners said the statements from victims and witnesses were clear on the perpetrators, adding that some of the victims were able to identify the culprits. “With each passing day we are getting closer to identifying those individuals and State actors alleged to have committed human rights violations, particularly at the highest levels,” said the report.
However, the commission admitted it lacked powers to summon the named perpetrators to record statements with them. The commission will therefore recommend to the Attorney-General to carry out further investigation on the architects of violence.
The commission has so far undertaken 18 missions to more than 70 locations across the country and also to Uganda in its investigation.
The commission said nearly 1,000 statements recounting more than 4,500 episodes of violence or incitement to violence were collected from individuals.
Commissioner, Ms Winnie Lichuma, said they were analysing the information gathered and following up on the leads.
“The analysis of data collected reveals that the commission already has in its possession credible and reliable information about those who directly committed acts of violence as well as those who gave or received instructions or orders to lead local violence implementation plans,” said Jaoko.