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Mutunga to officiate the proposed ICD into Kenya’s courts

04 February 2014, 20:34 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi - The Chief Justice,Willy Mutunga, is set to preside over the opening of the 2nd Stakeholders’ meeting on the proposed International Crimes Division(ICD) to kick off on January 5, 2014 at a Naivasha hotel.

The two-day conference organized by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) seeks to bring together different actors to reflect on the findings and recommendations of the JSC Report on the establishment of an ICD in the High Court.

Among issues to be discussed in the conference includes sensitizing and giving participants an opportunity to evaluate components, findings and recommendations of the JSC Report on the establishment and implementation of the ICD.

It also seeks to establish a stakeholder implementation agenda for consideration by JSC in its ICD steering effort of implementation and roll out processes to attain a general outline for policy framework on responses to the 2007/8 post-election violence. In addition it seeks to achieve clarity on the state of responses to international and transnational crimes including proposals towards improving such responses.

Kenya signed the Rome Statute on August 11, 1999 and ratified it on March 15, 2005, becoming the 98th State party. Consequently, Kenya enacted the implementing legislation, the International Crimes Act for Kenya, Act No. 16 of 2008, with a commencement date of January 1, 2009.

Kenya’s High Court under Section 8(2) of the International Crimes Act (IC Act) No. 16 of 2008 has the jurisdiction to conduct trials over persons who are responsible for international crimes committed locally or abroad by a Kenyan, or committed in any place against a Kenyan.

The Act domesticated the Rome Statute which defines and incorporates the crimes of genocide, war crimes and crime against humanity into Kenyan law.

On May 9, 2012 an agenda was deliberated before the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) on the possibility of operationalizing Section 8(2) of the Kenyan International Crimes Act (IC Act) No. 16 of 2008. This consequently led to establishment of a committee to look into modalities of establishing an International Crimes Division of the High Court. The committee was to adopt a broad approach and vest the proposed division with expansive jurisdiction to deal not only with international crimes, but transnational crimes as well.

The Committee, in its report, recommended that the Chief Justice establish the International Crimes Division in the High Court, with jurisdiction to try both international and transnational crimes, including the 2008 post-election violence cases.

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