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Engage TJRC but not on mayhem, mediator urges

By | October 10th 2009

By Lucianne Limo

Chief mediator Kofi Annan clarified the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) should not try perpetrators of post-election violence.

As he left the country after a whirlwind tour, Dr Annan said Kenyans wanted those highly responsible for the mayhem brought to book, but not through TJRC.

"I welcome the clarification by the President and Prime Minister that TJRC’s mandate will not be amended to include prosecution of perpetrators of post-election violence," he said.

His sentiments are backed by the European Union, who have made it clear TJRC should not be used to "cleanse masterminds of the chaos".

The EU warned it would only finance TJRC if a credible judicial solution was established to punish the architects of the chaos.

Annan urged Kenyans to start engaging and co-operating with the commission without fear.

"To do this, the Kenyan people will need clear reassurance that they can do so in safety and without fear of repercussions. I am, therefore, urging the Government to strengthen measures for protecting witnesses," he added.

The former UN chief said he has always rooted for the TJRC, special tribunal and the International Criminal Court, complementing one another.

Cabinet nod

In a EU statement released a month ago, 20 diplomatic missions said they were concerned with the Cabinet decision to create TJRC instead of a special tribunal.

They also cautioned TJRC could not replace a judicial mechanism to deal with post-election violence.

EU said: "We believe a properly mandated TJRC can play a role in national reconciliation, but it cannot replace a judicial mechanism."

British High Commissioner Rob Macaire warned his country would not fund the commission if it is turned into a tool to cleanse post-election violence suspects.

Religious leaders, civil society and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights were also against TJRC trying the suspects.

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