Rules on Supreme Court operations gazetted
By Mutinda Mwanzia
Rules that will govern the operations of the Supreme Court of Kenya have been published and gazetted ahead of the court’s commencement of its sittings on Monday.
The court, which is the highest organ of the Judiciary, has jurisdiction to handle appeal matters and election petitions, including those of presidential results and the declaration of a State of Emergency.
The Standard On Saturday obtained a copy of the rules and procedures governing the operations of the Supreme Court and which outline issues relating to the administration of the court, case management, petitions relating to presidential elections, appeals, fees and costs among other issues.
Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo said Kenyans have been eagerly waiting for the services of the court, adding that the reforms in the Judiciary will usher a new era in the country.
"It is a happy day for me that the rules have been gazetted and I am proud to be a minister when the court functions have been spelt out," said Mutula.
He said the establishment of the court was a milestone in the East African region since Kenya was the only country with such an organ.
Mutula said the 2007-2008 scenario where the presidential election results were disputed will be a thing of the past since the court will have the powers to determine such disputes.
"Politicians who feel they can mess with polls and get away with it have been boxed into a corner. The court is timely as we head to the 2012 elections," Mutula said.
The Supreme Court was established under Article 139 of the Constitution and consists of Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza and five other judges, Justices Philip Tunoi, Jackton Boma Ojwang’, Mohammed Ibrahim, Smokin Wanjala and Njoki Ndung’u.
Mutunga will be the President of the Supreme Court deputised by Baraza.
The rules have outlined that the CJ will co-ordinate the work of the court, including constituting the Benches to hear and determine matters filed before the court. He will also determine the sittings of the court and the matters to be disposed of at such sittings and also the vacations of the court.
For presidential petitions, a person may petition the court for determination of a dispute relating to a presidential election within seven days of the declaration of the results.
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