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Kenya committee unveils new draft constitution

[JURIST] The Kenyan Committee of Experts on Constitutional Review [official website] unveiled the initial Harmonized Draft Constitution [text, PDF] last week. The changes are intended [Xinhua report] to reduce the widespread injustice throughout the country, and specifically address issues that led to the violence following the 2007 presidential elections [JURIST news archive]. Following the issuance of the draft, the Kenyan public has one month to review and express concerns to the Committee of Experts. The Committee identified the executive and legislative branches, devolution of powers and bringing the constitution into effect as the most contentious issues [Committee materials]. The draft constitution alters the distribution of power [Daily Nation report] between the president and prime minister, reducing the power currently in the hands of the president, while putting the prime minister in charge of the daily operations of the government.

The allegations of fraud [JURIST report] following the 2007 elections led to violence that caused the deaths of more than 1,000 people and displacement of 500,000 others, and remains a concern in the international community. Earlier this month, the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] assigned three judges [JURIST report] to determine whether to allow Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] to initiate a formal investigation into the situation. The investigation may only proceed if Kenya does not conduct its own probe, which it has so far failed to do [JURIST report]. In October, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan [official profile; JURIST news archive] urged [JURIST report] Kenya to establish a local tribunal to prosecute those responsible for the violence.

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