Kenya: Kiplagat’s Return to TJRC an Act of Impunity


NAIROBI/NEW YORK, Jan. 16, 2012—Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat’s recent attempt to return to the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC)—pending resolution of serious allegations implicating him in acts connected to human rights violations and corruption—threatens the viability and credibility of the TJRC process, the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) said.

“In a public statement issued November 2, 2010, Kiplagat expressly stated he was stepping aside from his responsibilities at the commission to allow a tribunal to investigate the allegations against him in accordance with the rule of law,” said Njonjo Mue, deputy director of ICTJ’s Africa Program.

“Kiplagat betrayed his commitment to the public by frustrating the efforts of the tribunal mandated to investigate the allegations against him through a frivolous legal challenge that prevented the tribunal from completing its work. The apprehension of his bias and unsuitability for the job in the minds of the public remains as strong as ever,” said Mue.

The TJRC process holds hope for thousands of victims of past human rights violations. Indeed, a study recently conducted by ICTJ to understand victims’ reparative needs—To Live as Other Kenyans Do—underscores the urgency of their needs for rehabilitation, restoration, and restitution. The government must take decisive action to address these needs; this includes protecting the TJRC process against obstruction and abuse.

“Kiplagat is placing his own narrow and personal interests above those of the commission and the nation, especially victims seeking justice for past human rights violations,” said Christine Alai, acting head of ICTJ’s Kenya office. “We support the legal action taken by the TJRC to compel the chief justice to appoint a new tribunal to conclusively investigate allegations against Kiplagat. We urge the commission to formally exclude Kiplagat from all its activities pending the establishment and conclusion of the tribunal.”

About ICTJ

The International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) works to redress and prevent the most severe violations of human rights by confronting legacies of mass abuse. ICTJ seeks holistic solutions to promote accountability and create just and peaceful societies. For more information, visit


Christine Alai Acting Head, ICTJ Kenya Office Tel +254 20 387 7508/ 386 0201 Cell +254 721308911

Refik Hodzic Director, Communications Tel +1 917 637 3853 Cell +1 917 975 2305