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Kenya launches treaty database

 Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Singo'ei Korir during the launch of a treaty database on Monday in Nairobi. [Photo/Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs]

Kenya on Monday launched a new database that compiles all the treaties signed by the government since gaining independence.

Dr Korir Sing’oei, the Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Principal Secretary, highlighted during the launch that the database is crucial for upholding diplomatic agreements and honouring commitments.

The platform aims to provide easy access to diplomats, legal experts, stakeholders, and the public to analyse and contribute to treaty-related information.

The launch follows earlier criticism by human rights groups and media, which inaccurately claimed the President ratified the Malabo Protocol to establish the African Court of Justice and Human Rights and extend the jurisdiction to crimes under international law and transnational crimes.

In a joint statement in August, Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI) claimed the decision offered Ruto and other state officials’ immunity against potential international crimes that may be committed while in office.’

However, these claims were debunked as misinformation, as Kenya hadn’t ratified the protocol. The confusion stemmed from the signing of the Malabo Protocol on the Pan-African Parliament in July 2023, paving the way for ratification.

The Foreign Ministry established a treaties department in 2017, overseen by Registrar of Treaties James Waweru, who recently became the country’s deputy permanent representative at the Kenyan UN mission in Geneva.

Waweru, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the African Union, and the government of Sweden, conducted extensive training for public servants, civil society members, and the media on “Accelerating the Ratification and Domestication of African Union Treaties,”.

As per Registrar Waweru, Kenya has ratified 252 treaties, signed but not ratified 11 treaties, and is a member of 84 international bodies.

The newly launched treaties database is now accessible on the ministry’s official website and includes details such as adoption dates, signature dates, ratification dates, and the effective date of treaties.

It contains several treaties including the 2000 United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime that was adopted on September 29, 2003, and Nairobi ratified it on June 16, 2004.

Waweru noted that the establishment of a treaties database signifies the government’s commitment to the crucial role of treaties in line with the Ministry’s responsibility as the country’s repository of all treaties to which Kenya is a party to or is in the process of becoming a party to.

“The Office of the Registrar of Treaties derives its mandates from Articles 2(5) and (6) of the constitution and the Treaty Making and Ratification Act 2012, which collectively provide that the general rules of international laws form part of the laws of Kenya,” said Foreign PS on Monday.

He lauded UNDP and other stakeholders for working tirelessly to bring this project to reality, saying their assistance has been invaluable.

Sing’oei urged Kenyans and the diplomatic community to embrace the opportunity that technology presents, noting that this database is not a technological achievement but a symbol of collective dedication to shaping a future where diplomacy is efficient, transparent, and accessible.

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