Source: (2010) paper presented at the African Transitional Justice Research Network Workshop “Advocating Justice: Civil Society and Transitional Justice in Africa” 30–31 August 2010, Johannesburg, South Africa

In February 2008, following widespread violence after a disputed presidential election, Kenya officially joined the ranks of countries seeking to transition from authoritarianism or oppression to democracy. Although the debate as to whether Kenya needed to reckon with past human rights violations had been ongoing for a number of years, spearheaded by civil society, it was the postelection violence which took Kenya to the brink of civil war that sufficiently concentrated the minds of Kenyans in general and the political elite in particular to agree to a raft of agreements in the name of the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation Process, which formed the framework for Kenya’s transitional justice agenda. This paper will critically examine the role played by Kenyan civil society in laying the ground for Kenya’s transitional justice agenda long before the disputed election, as well as in advocating for peace with truth and justice while the violence raged, and thereby pushing the political elite to reach a just settlement. It will also examine civil society’s role in monitoring the implementation of the National Accord and the various transitional justice mechanisms it outlined. (author's abstract)

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