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KENYA NO AMNESTY SAYS ENVOYS

Envoys say No to amnesty calls

Story by NATION Team
Publication Date: 6/5/2008

Twelve foreign missions want those involved in electoral malpractices in last year’s General Election punished.

They said this through Canadian high commissioner to Kenya and Uganda Ross Hynes.

The envoys said those who were involved in post-election violence should also not be spared.

Speaking on the sidelines of a press conference where the missions called for free and fair by-elections on June 11, Mr Hynes said: “There should be no impunity for serious offences.

“The Cabinet has taken a decision to create a process to examine the issue, including identifying minor and major offences.”

No penalty

However, the envoy said that there should be no penalty for people “who simply went out to exercise their democratic right through freedom of association”.

Meanwhile, the United States ambassador, Michael Ranneberger Wednesday said amnesty for youths arrested during the post-election violence should be determined in accordance with the law.

Selective application of the rule of law could develop into potential areas of division in the grand coalition government, he said.

Mr Ranneberger said during a meeting with Lands minister, James Orengo, that the future of diplomatic relations between America and Kenya depended on the negotiated stability of the grand coalition government.

He said all issues stipulated in the National Accord and Reconciliation Act, such as constitutional review, land reforms and electoral review and reforms must remain the basis for progress.

Elsewhere, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has backed prosecution of people accused of committing crimes during post-poll chaos.

If those arrested are granted amnesty, the local chapter of ICJ warned, it would be a violation of international conventions on human rights.

“The position is that there should be no amnesty for gross human rights violations.

“It will fall flat as it flies in the face of known international norms and the Rome statute establishing the International Criminal Court that Kenya has ratified,” ICJ  chairman Wilfred Nderitu said.

Be released

In an apparent reference to demands by Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Agriculture minister William Ruto that youths in custody should be released and officials who stole elections arrested, the ICJ chairman likened it to politicising the matter.

Mr Nderitu went on: “While electoral injustices must be addressed, it’s a fallacy to suggest that prosecuting those who may have been guilty of electoral irregularities is the panacea for the brutal killing.”

In a related development, a lobby group Wednesday took issue with calls to offer blanket amnesty to youths arrested following post-election violence.

Release Political Prisoners executive coordinator, Stephen Musau said blanket amnesty would only augment the culture of impunity, adding, there should be investigations on a case-by-case basis.

Mr Musau said: “We are perturbed by the varied positions that have been taken by politicians on matters that ought to have been forthright if democracy, good governance and respect for human rights were to take their course…”

Reported by Lucas Barasa, Kenneth Ogosia, Fred Mukinda and Mike Mwaniki

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About SG

Secretary general of Chama Cha Mwananchi. This blog www.chamachamwananchi.wordpress.com, is based in Sweden.

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