I want justice for conflict victims in Kenya
Jun 15, 2012
My experiences with people who had suffered as a result of conflict motivated me to go for the TJRC job. The conditions they faced were so harsh that I suffered secondary trauma at some point because I internalised the pain and suffering of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees I interacted with.
Having trained in restorative justice in the US and through my experience at the community level, I realised that the line between the victim and perpetrator is so blurred that only restorative justice could work.
I believe TJRC not only gives victims and perpetrators a platform to vent out and tell their stories, but also reaffirms the victims of injustice.
When I took over the vice-chairmanship at TJRC, I had a son who was barely a month old, but I was motivated by the need to help the victims of injustice.
I wanted to validate the tears of the victims by providing them with a platform to share their painful experiences in order to look for the way forward. I needed Kenyans to make a commitment to never allow themselves to go through such painful experiences.
We have had several challenges, with some not believing in the commission, but slowly and surely, we are carrying out our mandate by interacting with victims at the grassroots.
Listening to victims recount their harrowing experiences before the commission is not easy. While most TJRC personnel have gone through several trauma-healing courses, many found themselves traumatised as a result of listening to the shocking revelations of diverse human injustices in the country.
For the first time in Kenya, the high and mighty were called to testify and victims were given an opportunity to be heard.
One of our goals as TJRC is to paint a global picture of the historical injustices and violations that Kenyans have gone through between 1963 and 2008. We hope to harmonise the records by highlighting the plight of the victims as well as give recommendations either for prosecutions, reparations or amnesty.