TJRC Report

The President has been asked to offer Kenyans a public and unconditional apology for all the injustices and gross violations of human rights committed since independence to February 2008.

This tops the list of apologies suggested by the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) for violations committed between December 12, 1963 and February 28, 2008.

In its report presented to President Kenyatta at State House Nairobi Tuesday, the TJRC also proposed that the government considers entering into negotiations with the British government to seek compensation for victims of atrocities and injustices committed during the colonial period.

“The commission recommends that the British government offer a public and unconditional apology to the people of Kenya for all injustices and gross violations of human rights committed by the colonial administration between 1895 and 1963,” the report says.

This, it says, should be done within 12 months, which means by May 2014.

State security agencies, in particular the Kenya Police, the Kenya Defence Forces, and the National Intelligence Service, should also ask for forgiveness for gross violations of human rights committed by their predecessor agencies.

The report made particular reference to acts of extra-judicial killings, arbitrary and prolonged detention, torture and sexual violence.

The Judiciary was not spared as the commission recommended that it acknowledges and apologises for failing to address impunity effectively and failing to perform its role of preventing gross human rights violations.

Says the report: “The judiciary should fast-track the establishment of the International Crimes Division of the High Court which shall be responsible for the trial of some of the cases referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions for investigations and prosecution.”

The commission also found all past administrations responsible for numerous gross human rights violations.

It said President Jomo Kenyatta headed a government under which political assassinations were committed, political opponents were arbitrarily detained and top government officials and their allies acquired land illegally and irregularly.

It indicated that during President Jomo Kenyatta’s tenure in 1963-1978, Pio Gama Pinto, Tom Mboya and JM Kariuki were assassinated for their political views.

Other violations experienced at that time were the Shifta War, killings, torture, collective punishment and denial of basic needs — such as food, water and healthcare.

Between 1978 and 2002, the report says, President Moi presided over a government that was responsible for massacres, economic crimes and grand corruption as well as assassinations — including that of Dr Robert Ouko.

Illegal and irregular allocations of land and unlawful detentions and systematic and widespread torture and ill-treatment of political and human rights activists were also rampant, it says.

Shortest list of violations

Historical grievances over land constitute the single most important driver of conflict and ethnic tension in Kenya, the report says, adding, Moi’s successor Mwai Kibaki’s government, had the shortest list of violations.

Between 2002 and 2008, the government was liable for unlawful detentions, extrajudicial killings and economic crimes and grand corruption.
Northern Kenya has been the epicentre of gross violations of human rights by State security agencies, the report says.

“Almost without exception, security operations in Northern Kenya have been accompanied by massacres of largely innocent citizens, systematic and widespread torture, rape and sexual violence of girls and women, looting and burning of property, and the killing and confiscation of cattle and other livestock,” the report read.

The inquiry established that during 1963-2008, the state adopted economic and other policies that resulted in the marginalisation of five key regions in the country: North Eastern and Upper Eastern; Coast; Nyanza; Western; and North Rift.

Further, it found that between 1895 and 1963, the British colonial administration in Kenya was responsible for horrific gross violations of human rights.

TJRC established that in order to stamp its authority in Kenya, the colonial rulers employed violence on the local population on an unprecedented scale.

Such violence included massacres, torture and ill-treatment and various forms of sexual violence.

Adapted from



Independent Legal Consultant.

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