IBA report slams state of Kenyan judiciary

The International Bar Association last week released a damning report on the Kenyan legal system's continuing problems and the lack of independence enjoyed by the country's judiciary.

The 43-page report was launched in London by Sir William Goodhart QC, who led a mission to Kenya last November on behalf of the IBA's Human Rights Institute. The trip was prompted by a request from the Law Society of Kenya.

The report specifically examined the conviction of political activist and former opposition MP Koigi Wamwere, together with his brother and brother in-law.

The three were accused of an attack on a police station in 1993, but the report concludes they were convicted on “very unsatisfactory evidence”. More generally, it says, corruption in the legal system is endemic among court officials and more subtle at a higher level.

Goodhart revealed the report would be presented to Kenya's attorney general, Amos Wako, and the country's president, Daniel arap Moi.

According to Goodhart, Wako has already made a commitment to adopt some of its recommendations – such as the fact that politicians should not comment on cases while they are still active.

However, Goodhart admitted that there would be little enthusiasm in the government for the report's other recommendations, such as the ditching of laws that severely restrict freedom of association.