News 2008


Law body to launch inquiry into violence

February 14, 2008


By Maureen Mudi and Francis Ngige

East African lawyers will join their Kenyan counterparts in an inquiry into the violence that rocked the country after last year’s disputed polls.

The lawyers from Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi, under the umbrella of the East Africa Law Society (EALS), will undertake the mission to establish the extent to which human rights were violated and property destroyed. They will also investigate claims of genocide.

The society’s president, Mr Tom Ojienda, said the mission, which would begin as soon as the Kofi Annan-led talks were concluded, would last for about two months.

"Since we wholly support the Annan talks, we shall wait for its completion then embark on our mission. We intend to visit all areas that were affected by the violence," he said.

Ojienda said the team aimed at providing a legal map and support for all those who would file claims for property that was destroyed and other related suits.

"We shall be on the ground to verify each claim and ascertain the magnitude of the problem to ensure we have tangible evidence in cases that we shall pursue," he said.

Meanwhile, the lawyers urged parties in the ongoing mediation talks to desist from making utterances that would undermine the resolution of the political crisis.

Ojienda said it was unfortunate that negotiators were discussing proposals in public before they finalised the talks.

He noted that MPs should wait to play their legislative roles once the negotiations had been completed.