KITUO & GIZ-CPS KENYA: Celebrating 10 Years of Partnership
Access to JusticeSeptember 23, 20190 CommentsKituo Cha Sheria
KITUO & GIZ-CPS Kenya: On Friday, 20th September 2019, Kituo Cha Sheria and GIZ-CPS Kenya celebrated a 10-year partnership in promoting access to justice for the most vulnerable people in Kenya. The colourful evening event took place at the Desmond Tutu Conference Centre, Nairobi. The Civil Peace Service (CPS) has been supporting civil society partner organizations in Kenya since 2009 – and in recent years increasingly also governmental partner organizations. KITUO is a long-term partner of GIZ-CPS Kenya; we are honoured to be among the initial partners GIZ-CPS Kenya engaged with in 2009. Together, Kituo has implemented 3 projects- the Peace Justice and Reconciliation Project (PJRP); the Alternative Justice Systems (AJS) Project and the Mental Health and Psycho-Social Support (MHPSS) Project with great successes. Kituo Cha Sheria’s partnership with GIZ began in 2010 with the Peace Justice and Reconciliation Project which was informed by the need to review the structures of governance as they relate to security, human rights, the rule of law and democracy after the 2007/2008 Kenyan post-election crisis. The project was to ensure many Kenyans, participate in the Transitional Justice Mechanisms, by facilitating effective community representation and participation. KITUO and GIZ-CPS have since collaborated in the implementation of Alternative Justice Systems which are mechanisms of solving disputes or/and conflicts between parties without recourse to the courts. The methods used in the AJS processes include mediation, negotiation and where ever possible reconciliation. Through AJS, the conflicting parties are brought together to dialogue and agree on a voluntary basis in order to forge a way forward. Kituo Cha Sheria and GIZ have worked together since 2017 in providing mental health and psychosocial support to refugees in urban areas through the Mental Health and Psycho-Social support Services (MHPSS) which is under the Forced Migration Program. Speaking at the 10th Anniversary celebration; Mr. Justus Maithya Munyithya, Advocate and the Chairman of Kituo’s Board of Directors lauded CPS-Kenya for their support and the focus on peace journalism, alternative dispute settlement and on establishing dialogue structures that encourage people to resolve conflicts without violence. Kituo was also represented at the evening event which started with a market expo by officers Tobias Mwadime, Martha Ogutu, Jane Corazon, Charity Wangui, Roy Kiarie and Shem Alubala.
On Friday, 20th September 2019 we celebrated a 10-year partnership in promoting access to justice for the most vulnerable people in our society. KITUO is a long-term partner of GIZ-CPS Kenya; we are honoured to be among the initial partners GIZ-CPS Kenya engaged with in 2009.
Together we have implemented 3 projects- the Peace Justice and Reconciliation Project (PJRP); the Alternative Justice Systems (AJS) Project and the Mental Health and Psycho-Social Support (MHPSS) Project with great successes.
1.0 PEACE JUSTICE AND RECONCILIATION PROJECT (PJRP)
Kituo Cha Sheria’s partnership with GIZ began in 2010 with the Peace Justice and Reconciliation Project which was informed by the need to review the structures of governance as they relate to security, human rights, the rule of law and democracy after the 2007/2008 Kenyan postelection crisis. The project was to ensure many Kenyans, participate in the Transitional Justice Mechanisms, by facilitating effective community representation and participation.
Kituo with the partnership of GIZ-CPS Kenya worked with the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) and the International Criminal Court (ICC) to address historical injustices and post-election violence; advocated for an IDP policy and legislative framework. PJRP made a contribution to strengthening human rights and good governance to ensure increased access to justice through legal intervention and advocacy.
KITUO in its mission to offer legal aid, empower and represent poor and marginalized individuals and groups in Kenya decided to support these efforts to deal with the past and to promote Kenyans’ transitional justice agenda. In line with this vision, PJRP aimed at ensuring victims’ participation in the Transitional Justice mechanisms available in the country and the promotion of rights of victims of violence in general.
PJRP particularly targeted Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and other post 2007/8 general elections violence victims. The overall goal was to ensure effective and meaningful inclusion of the key target group in the then ongoing truth and justice processes as well as to establish a referral mechanism to improve their devastating situation.
KITUO worked closely with the survivors and relevant stakeholders from the grassroots to the national level in developing policies and promoting Peace, Justice and National Reconciliation. PJRP assisted the TJRC to reach out to victims groups all over the country; the victims gave statements to the TJRC and informed them about the intervention of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Moreover, PJRP advocated in order addressing historical injustices and post-election violence for domestic accountability as well as for an IDP policy / legislative framework.
PJRP played an active role in ensuring community awareness and victim participation and collaboration among civil society engaged in the process. KITUO pushed for the adoption of the national IDP policy, ratification of the Kampala Convention and enactment of necessary legislation. KITUO was actively involved in the promotion of the IDP Act and cooperated therefore with the Parliamentary Committee for Internal Displacement.
- PJRP contributed through advocacy and training to strengthen human rights and good governance, to ensure increased access to justice through legal intervention.
- PJRP contributed in drafting of the National IDP policy which provided an avenue for legal protection of IDPs.
- PJRP also contributed to empowering victims to participate in the Transitional Justice Mechanisms in Kenya through legal aid, advocacy and community outreach initiatives.
- Kituo through the project joined various networks for its intervention on Internal Displacement issues with the then Ministry of Special Programmes, Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs (MOJNCCA), National IDP-Network Protection Working Group, especially United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), IDP self help groups in urban settlements, Nairobi Peoples Settlement Network (NPSN), Kenya National Commission on Human Rights(KNCHR) among other organizations, together with other CBOs in Nyanza, Rift Valley, Western and Nairobi Provinces.
- PJRP became a member of the Truth Justice Network Kenya and re-activated KITUO’s membership in the Kenya for Peace Truth and Justice Network. KITUO initiated the creation of an ICC-sub-working group which meets regularly and effectively coordinates its activities.
- Kituo was represented at the NGO roundtable of the International Criminal Court in April 2011
‘’A community is democratic only when the humblest and weakest person can enjoy the highest civil, economic, and social rights that the biggest and most powerful possess.” -Philip Randolph
2.0 ALTERNATIVE JUSTICE SYSTEMS PROJECT
Since the 1992 General Elections, there was and remains a possibility of Post Election Violence (PEV) re-occuring. This unfortunate cycle of PEV needs as much as possible to be mitigated so that its recurrence is reduced or stopped altogether. Post Election Violence (PEV) has led to various obstacles like massive loss or destruction of property especially land as well as other serious forms of violence.
Considering the adversarial formal Justice system, the communities deserve a judicial mechanism that fosters forgiveness, peaceful co-existence and justice considering the status quo. This can be achieved through an Alternative Justice System mechanism. Alternative Justice System (AJS) with a participatory approach incorporates dialogue, trust building as well as capacity building in order to address in an appropiate setting, the past, the present and possible future conflicts inorder to establish a mechanism that allows people to reflect on issues involved and herewith establish a system that leads to a more peaceful co-extience.
KITUO and GIZ-CPS have since collaborated in the implementation of Alternative Justice Systems which are mechanisms of solving disputes or/and conflicts between parties without recourse to the courts.
The methods used in the AJS processes include mediation, negotiation and where ever possible reconciliation. Through AJS, the conflicting parties are brought together to dialogue and agree on a voluntary basis in order to forge a way forward.
The Alternative Justice Systems (AJS) Project mechanism model is made up of Commissioners and Adjudicators.
Commissioners include the victims, offenders, elders, and representatives of organizations in the society. The work of the commissioners is to create AJS awareness or rather outreach in the community.
On the other end, Adjudicators comprise only of respectable and people of high moral standing in the society who are neither IDPs nor Offenders.
Both commissioners and adjudicators are nominated by the community. The work of the adjudicators is to facilitate using various conflict resolution mechanisms like, mediation, negotiation and other techniques, in order for the disputing parties to reach an amicable solution to their dispute.
Alternative Justice Systems derives its authority from Article 159 (2) (c) of the Constitution of Kenya, which states “….alternative forms of dispute resolution including reconciliation, mediation, arbitration and traditional dispute resolution mechanisms shall be promoted subject to clause 3.“
KITUO, through the project has conducted training of Commissioners and Adjudicators as paralegals and were trained on land, property, and succession laws to empower them in promoting reconciliation in the community by settling more PEV related and community disputes in different areas that were greatly affected by the 2007/2008 post-election violence especially in the Rift Valley and former Nyanza Provinces.
Some successes, so far, of the Alternative Justice Systems (AJS) project with Future Perspectives include:-
- Establishment of an effective Alternative Justice System mechanism.
- Establishment of a community sensitive approach that promotes sustainable reconciliation initiatives as well as future orientations on peaceful cohabitation for the IDPs and the (host-) communities.
- Provision of a safe space for interaction of IDPs, stakeholders and the host communities with a holistic approach, which allows all actors to address issues leading to more peaceful co-existence.
- Through the AJS Future Perspective Training, the IDPs have identified their strengths as well as capacity that will help them transform into a stage of self-mobilization in order to break the cycle of re-victimization.
- A functional and skilled team of commissioners has been established in accordance to the AJS mechanism.
- The IDPs and the (host-) communities are comprehensively familiarized with the methodologies of conflict resolution that the AJS mechanism uses, that is mediation and negotiation.
- The IDPs and the (host-) communities have obtained the knowledge of legal structures in place.
- KITUO’s AJS Taskforce has also established networking structures for the IDPs and the (host-) communities from the sub-county to the national level in order to initiate collaborations with other official structures and NGOs.
KITUO’s partnership with GIZ-CPS Kenya; has made it possible for the AJS Taskforce to realize acceptance by the Judiciary through presentations made to Magistrate, Court Registrars, Civil Procedure Rules Committees and Court Users Committees.
KITUO through the project has demonstrated that AJS is relevant to the Judiciary’s Transitional Framework as it will reduce the backlog of civil cases at the court by dispensing prompt justice.
The idea of AJS mechanism has been received positively by all the stakeholders involved but most importantly by the communities due to the advantages it has over the formal judicial system in dealing with civil cases. The formal judicial mechanism is largely adversarial, too costly, uncertain (power relations) and takes too much time before arriving at a solution.
It is only Alternative Justice Systems (AJS) that fosters forgiveness, reconciliation, prompt Justice as well as the possibility for the individual and community to reflect on the various levels of violence including structural violence. For instance, there are already requests from other IDP communities like the Go-down and Chepchoina IDPs who would like to be included in the AJS project moving forward.
3.0 MENTAL HEALTH AND PSYCHO-SOCIAL SUPPORT (MHPSS) PROJECT
Kituo Cha Sheria and GIZ have worked together since 2017 in providing mental health and psychosocial support to refugees in urban areas through the Mental Health and Psycho-Social support Services (MHPSS) which is under the Forced Migration Program.
THE (MHPSS) PROJECT
The MHPSS program at Kituo cha Sheria is part of urban refugee MHPSS working group comprising of UNHCR, RCK, HIAS, DRC, CVT, ReFuShe, NCCK, Hesed Africa, AAA, MSF and REFUGE POINT. The program is also an active member of SGBV (sexual gender based violence) and IPPL (integrating psychosocial peace and legal) working groups.
MHPSS’s focus is on refugees and the host community with emphasis on mental health awareness creation, individual counseling, group counseling, community forums, training of key stakeholders like the police, judiciary and other government officials on the mental health concerns among the persons of concern (refugees and host community). In addition, the program offers self care and team training to the Kituo staff and has been of support to the team in terms of debriefing and emotional support.
With refugees prone to psychological trauma due to the challenges they encounter pre-migration, during migration and post migration and psychological trauma and related issues like depression being leading causes of ill health and disability worldwide, KITUO and GIZ found it necessary to create a program which offers mental health support to the KITUO staff and urban refugees in particular with some exceptional cases from the host community.
Kituo Cha Sheria
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