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Let's learn from Hague verdict on William Ruto, says Law Society of Kenya

COUNTIES
By David Ohito | April 11th 2016
Deputy President William Ruto

NAIROBI: Lawyers have termed tampering with witnesses and political interference in the ICC cases a blow to justice.

The International Criminal Court declared a mistrial the case against Deputy President William Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang.

Law Society of Kenya (LSK) President Isaac Kolya Okero decried the State's commitment to justice with victims of 2007-2008 post-election violence still in anguish eight years later.

"What the ICC has shown us is that more acutely than ever, the responsibility to create and maintain institutions that will deliver to Kenyans substantial justice is not something we can abdicate. We are truly on our own," Okero said.

"Is the pronouncement of a mistrial and the basis thereof an indictment of the State's commitment to the rule of law? Do we have local mechanisms to protect us from the recurrence of political violence and criminality? Will witness tampering and political interference remain obstacles to the pursuit of justice and legal redress?" Okero asked.

He warned that the country was nearing another election with fragile peace and dozens still seeking justice after they were uprooted from their homes.

"Let us reflect on the reasons given by the court, with honest and constructive self-appraisal remembering that we are soon entering a general election season with the perpetrators of the violence of eight years ago still at large and historical injustices unresolved," Okero said.

He cautioned that peace without truth and justice was fragile and built on quicksand.

For Kenya to prosper, he said, the country must reflect and ask hard questions in the quest for commitment to the rule of law, peace and justice.

"The court has declared the proceedings a mistrial due to a troubling incidence of witness interference and intolerable political meddling," he said.

He called for establishment of a functioning and independent High Court Division dealing with crimes against humanity.

Okero said bringing to justice of the persons responsible for witness tampering and political interference are critical first steps that will give despairing Kenyans hope.

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