Eminent jurists in Kenya to observe proceedings of Presidential petition

A high-level international mission has arrived in Kenya to observe the proceedings during the presidential election petition in Kenya.

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The Africa Judges and Jurists Forum (AJJF) in partnership with the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ Geneva) has sent a mission of eminent jurists to observe the proceedings of Kenya’s Presidential election petition filed by the National Super Alliance(NASA) party.

The Trial Observation Mission (TOM), headed by the immediate former Zambian Chief JusticeEarnest Sakala, will look into matters related to the independence of the judiciary and the role of the Supreme Court in the adjudication of the presidential electoral dispute.

“The mission will be more than just a trial (petition) observation but will look at broader socio-political environment in the run up to the petition,” ICJ – Kenya Executive Director Samwel Mohochi said in a statement.

The mission will as well observe and monitor the presidential petition trial in relation to the observance of African human rights standards through court processes.

TOM will meet Kenya’s Chief Justice David Maraga and all parties involved in the matter before hearings commence.

Other members of the delegation are Justice (Rtd) Moses Chinhengo of Zimbabwe, Justice Key Oagile Dingake from Botswana as well as human rights lawyers Martin Masiga from Uganda and Brian Penduka from Zimbabwe.

In the statement, ICJ-K said the mission will make it clear to all parties – both the petitioners and the respondents – that the hearing will be under scrutiny hence encourage “adherence to human rights standards and the rule of law in the entire process.”

The mission is also expected to issue a report at the end of the trial in accordance with international best practices.

“Observers will develop a comprehensive report on the whole process with an aim to contribute to a more professional, independent, impartial and accountable judiciary; a more independent legal profession; and, a better adherence to the rule of law and separation of powers and international law and standards concerning the resolution of electoral disputes,” the ICJ statement said.

Kenya's electoral body declared Mr. Kenyatta the winner of the hotly-contested election having amassed 54% of the votes tallied against Mr. Odinga’s 44%.

NASA however filed a petition at the Supreme Court to challenge the results saying it would lay before the world the "making of a computer-generated leadership."

The outcome of the petition is expected by September 1.

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