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Human rights group says Kenya law lacking

May 15, 2008 at 8:11 AM

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 15 (UPI) -- Human rights advocates say a proposal to set up a "truth commission" in Kenya is seriously flawed because it doesn't rule out amnesty for many war crimes.

The Kenyan parliament is considering a draft of a law to create the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, a South Africa-style tribunal whose job it would be to prosecute past war crimes and human rights abuses. The commission was urged by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in the wake of ethnic bloodshed that left hundreds of people dead earlier this year.

Human Rights Watch said Thursday the draft proposal setting up the tribunal is lacking in many respects.

"The national dialogue and reconciliation process was supposed to create institutions that can address Kenya's historical injustices and bring criminals to book for their crimes," Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said in a news release. "But as currently drafted, the commission has serious flaws that must be urgently addressed by parliament, especially its amnesty provisions."

Specifically, the group objects to provisions that would allow amnesty for war crimes that fell short of "crimes against humanity," which could include torture and sexual violence.

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