Tuesday, September 28, 2010


MPs voted to scrap the law shielding soldiers from prosecution over past human rights violations. It was a big win for the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, when Parliament on Wednesday deleted the Indemnity Act from the country’s laws.

The Indemnity (Repeal) Act quashes the law passed in 1972 aimed at shielding public officials and soldiers from civil or criminal liability, regarding human rights violations in the course of security operations.

The decision was spearheaded by Mr Mohammed Affey (nominated, ODM-K) who had argued that the law was an obstacle to unearthing the truth behind injustices committed in the country since independence.

The House unanimously endorsed the Bill that seeks to repeal the Act. It now goes to President Kibaki for the assent.

Security officers who participated in the Shifta War may soon face the law to account for their participation. Parliament approved the Indemnity (Repeal) Bill, which if assented to by the President, would repeal the draconian law passed in 1970. The Indemnity Act shields officers from prosecution and bars victims from seeking compensation.
MPs were outraged by the Act barring residents from filing any claims for compensation with respect to the period of the war or legal proceedings against public officers or members of the armed forces who had anything to do with that war. The Act bars any court or tribunal from entertaining legal proceedings with respect of the prescribed area after the December 25, 1963, and before December 1, 1967. This is the period of the so-called Shifta War during which the  Kenya Government deployed security forces to crush insurgents in the Northern Frontier that threatened to secede.

NEP Kenya, where Kenya Somali Ethnic tribe lives has been marginalized for over three decades without access to Government budget related to the establishment of schools, roads, hospitals and other social amenities. Local MP, Hon Adan Keynan once estimated more than Ksh. 39 Billion has been lost from the time Kenya government implemented the "Emergency Laws"....

Recently, The Truth Commission said

“The Commission takes the position that the Indemnity Act does not and will not affect its ability to fulfil its mandate of investigating all violations of human rights committed throughout the country,” read a statement posted on the commission’s website. “These include those violations that occurred between 1963 and 1967 in the areas covered by the Indemnity Act (North Eastern Province, and Isiolo, Marsabit, Tana River, and Lamu districts),” the statement quoted commissioner Ronald Slye as saying.