International and national cooperation is needed to bring the guilty to justice and put an end to impunity in developing countries like Kenya and globally, according to Peter Eigen, the founder of Transparency International, the anti-corruption organisation.
“The Kenyan state authorities, for example, are under an obligation to ensure justice for the victims of the 2007-2008 post-election violence. They have a right to truth,” said Dr. Eigen in a lecture titled Tackling Impunity in Developing Countries Comprehensively and Definitively organised by the Centre for Multiparty Democracy.
Dr. Eigen explained that impunity is the absence of criminal, administrative, disciplinary or civil responsibility and the ability of those accused to avoid investigation or punishment. For citizens to have trust in their governments there can be no impunity.
Kenya faces significant challenges to restore that trust following the post election violence of 2007-2008. The current debate on whether Kenya should support the International Criminal Court’s indictment of six individuals is a case in point.
Dr. Eigen said the judicial process should be seen to be working and must be transparent with a free flow of information, whether at the ICC or in national tribunals that could be established to inquire into alleged violations.
“Complementary domestic and international criminal justice mechanisms are called for to tackle impunity,” said Dr. Eigen. He stressed that civil society can play an important role in supporting this process by ensuring that actions remain transparent. This way there is less chance for human rights violations and a better chance for a strong governance system to prevail and an end to impunity.
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