ICJ slams ‘corrupt’ judiciary in Kenya

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) is calling for wholesale reform of the Kenyan judiciary after discovering evidence of widespread corruption in the country.

The ICJ mission reported on 11 April, following a fact-finding mission, to the African state last December and outlined a number of findings and recommendations. Foremost among the proposals was a complete overhaul of the Kenyan justice system.

In its report, the ICJ said: “Corruption in the administration of justice, including in the judiciary, has been a serious impediment to the rule of law in Kenya.”

According to the ICJ, anti-corruption measures put in place by the Kenyan government after the transition from the regime of President Daniel arap Moi in 2002 “were not conducted in accordance with international standards”.

Although the new government’s investigations found that more than half of the Court of Appeal and High Court judges, and 82 out of 254 magistrates, were “corrupt”, appointments of temporary and acting judges to replace the ousted judiciary were also criticised.

The ICJ said it was “further concerned about the lack of sufficiently clear criteria and non-transparent procedures regarding the appointment of judges and magistrates”.

Among the 42 recommendations made by the mission are calls for new legislation on the judicial and legal system, the establishment of clear appointment procedures and full separation of the judiciary from the government.

Nicholas Howen, the ICJ secretary-general, called on the Kenyan government to implement the reforms.