Will Kenya’s restorative justice fund sideline truth commission findings?

04 May 2015 by Abdullahi Boru, Nairobi (Kenya)

Earlier this year Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in his state of the union address not only apologized on behalf of the state for past human rights abuses, but also announced a three-year, 10 billion Kenyan-shilling (96 million-euro) “restorative justice” fund for victims of such atrocities. But critics say much is unclear about the plan and how it will co-exist with reparations processes and procedures envisaged by the now defunct Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) [IJT-162].

Kenya's TJRC "had no political champions," says Mutuma Ruteere, director of the Centre for Human Rights and Policy Studies in Nairobi (Photo: Flickr/unisgeneva/UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré)
Image caption: 
Kenya's TJRC "had no political champions," says Mutuma Ruteere, director of the Centre for Human Rights and Policy Studies in Nairobi (Photo: Flickr/unisgeneva/UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré)

Kenyatta’s March promise came just months after the International Criminal Court dropped his charges of alleged crimes against humanity in Kenya’s 2007-2008 post-election violence [IJT-172]. Those events left 1,500 people dead and over a half-million displaced. The end of the Kenyatta case left its more than 20,000 participating victims empty-handed.

Over a month since the fund was announced, little is known about how it will function or work alongside recommendations by the TJRC. In 2008, that commission was established to promote, ambitiously, peace, justice, national unity, healing and reconciliation among Kenyans. It was meant to give victims, perpetrators and the general public a platform for non-retributive truth-telling. But the commission was unpopular from the start.

Short on political will, not shillings

Want to read more?

If you subscribe to a free membership, you can read this article and explore our full archive, dating back to 1997.

Subscribe now

Related articles

article
21 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

Being the ICC's Chief Prosecutor is a delicate and politically sensitivejob.ForLuisMorenoOcampo it has been "the best job in the world." Fatou Bensouda will be taking over his office in June. She inhe

article
07 December 2011 by Thijs Bouwknegt

December 7, 2011 Ivory Coast is the latest playgroundoftheInternationalCriminal Court. This week the courtroom in The Hague became its theatre of justice. Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo proudly p

article
07 December 2011 by Richard Walker

Four Congolese witnesses testifying at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, find themselves caught in a legal wrangle, which could at once set a legal precedent and make them the last

article
07 December 2011 by Lindy Janssen

Brazil is booming. The economy is expanding and the country is getting ready to host the Football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. But the Latin American giant has not even begun dealing wi

article
07 December 2011 by Radosa Milutinovic

The primary purpose of the retrial of Ramush Haradinaj, as proclaimed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in its appeal judgement in July, should have been to hear testimonies of two "key" witnesses who proved unwilling to testify in the original trial in 2007. Almost four months into the retrial which started in mid-August, its stated aim has not yet been achieved.