Annual Report: Kenya 2010

May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Kenya 2010

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Head of state and government Mwai Kibaki
Death penalty abolitionist in practice
Population 39.8 million
Life expectancy 53.6 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f) 112/95 per 1,000
Adult literacy 73.6 per cent

The authorities showed little political will to ensure that those responsible for human rights abuses committed during the post-election violence of 2007/8 were brought to justice and that victims received adequate reparations. Impunity for state security officials who carried out unlawful killings and torture was not addressed. Human rights defenders faced considerable risks and threats. Violence against women and girls remained widespread. Thousands of people were forcibly evicted from their homes. The President commuted to life imprisonment the sentences of more than 4,000 prisoners who had been on death row for prolonged periods. Courts continued to impose death sentences but there were no executions.


The government introduced several measures recommended in agreements reached during the political mediation – the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation – following the post-election violence of 2007/8. In February, a committee of experts was appointed to lead the process of redrafting and adopting a new Constitution. In November, the committee issued a draft Constitution for public comments. In April, the Interim Independent Electoral Review Commission was formed to oversee elections for two years until a permanent electoral body is established. In September, the government appointed members of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission mandated by a 2008 law to promote national integration. Overall, however, there was little progress in implementing fundamental reforms proposed under the agreements.

There were regular disagreements within government and between the two main political parties that formed the coalition government – the Party of National Unity and the Orange Democratic Movement. As a result, much-needed legal, constitutional, land, electoral and other reforms were delayed.

Dozens of people were killed in violence, particularly in central Kenya, involving armed community vigilante groups and members of the Mungiki vigilante group. The police failed to effectively enforce law and order.

Impunity – post-election human rights violations

No measures were implemented to ensure accountability for human rights violations, including possible crimes against humanity, committed during the post-election violence in 2007/8, when more than 1,000 people were killed.

In February Parliament rejected a Bill to establish a special tribunal to investigate and prosecute suspected perpetrators of these crimes. In July the cabinet rejected the tabling of a redrafted government version of the Bill. A private members' Bill seeking to establish a special tribunal was published in August and was pending in Parliament at the end of the year.

In July the government announced plans to use the truth, justice and reconciliation process and carry out "accelerated reforms of the judiciary, the police and the investigative arms of government" to deal with human rights abuses during the post-election violence, but no timeline was given.

In July, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) reiterated to the government that primary responsibility for investigations and prosecutions into crimes that may fall within the jurisdiction of the ICC lies with Kenyan authorities. At the end of the year, an application by the ICC Prosecutor filed in November to the Pre-Trial Chamber to authorize an investigation into possible crimes against humanity during the post-election violence was pending.