Kenya's president apologizes for government's past wrongs

AP News
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Posted: Mar 26, 2015 2:04 PM

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenya's president apologized on Thursday to the Kenyan people for past wrongs committed both by his government and past regimes.

President Uhuru Kenyatta told parliament during his state of the nation address that time has come to bring closure to the country's painful past. He mentioned the 2007-08 postelection violence, the 1984 massacre of hundreds of Kenyan-Somalis and unsolved murders among other historical injustices.

Kenyatta told parliament Thursday he has asked the Ministry of Finance to set up a 10 billion Kenyan shilling ($110 million) fund to be used in the next three years for restorative justice.

Kenya's Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission report had recommended that the president apologize to the public within six month after receiving it. Kenyatta received the report on May 2013.

The report names the president and his deputy as being among those suspected of planning and financing Kenya's 2007-08 postelection violence in which more than 1,000 people died.

The International Criminal Court dropped crimes against Humanity charges against Kenyatta earlier this month after the prosecution said in December it couldn't proceed with the case because of lack of evidence which it blamed on witness intimidation and lack of cooperation by the Kenyan government.

Crimes against humanity case against Kenyatta's deputy, William Ruto, and Radio journalist Joshua Sang continues to be heard at the Hague-based ICC.

Kenyatta's family members, especially his father, founding President Jomo Kenyatta, are named in the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation report as having presided over a government responsible for numerous human rights violations and illegal allocation of land.

The government-funded report found that Kenya's second and third presidents, Daniel Arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki, headed governments that were responsible for massacres, economic crimes and grand corruption, among other violations.

Kenya's state security agencies, particularly the police and army, have been the main perpetrators of human rights violations, including massacres, enforced disappearances, torture and sexual violence, the report said.

Kenya's Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission was formed from a wider effort to establish the truth behind historical violations that are partly blamed for the 2007-08 postelection violence sparked off by a dispute over who won the December 2007 presidential election.

A 2008 government commission found historical injustices such as unequal land distribution were partly responsible for the violence.