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Kenya senior judges declared unfit

Kenya dismissed four senior judges on Wednesday after an independent board found that they lacked integrity and were incompetent. The men removed from their position were Riaga Omollo, the Chief of the Court of Appeals, Samuel Bosire, Emmanuel Okubasu and Joseph Nyamu. Five other judges were cleared of any suspicion [Angola Press report] in the proceedings. The investigative panel was set up in 2008 following post-election violence [JURIST news archive]. Previous attempts to clean up the judiciary have failed and been seen as more political actions than anything else. The panel said that the judges were removed for incompetence and because they lacked impartiality. Some of them also admitted to taking bribes during their careers. One of the judges was even accused of condoning torture [Bernama report]. The four judges have seven days to launch an appeal.

In June, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) [official website] selected five appointees [JURIST report], one woman and four men, to serve on the nation's first Supreme Court. Kenya has seen a relative transition to peace in recent years as the country has tried to curtail the president's powers and end the violence. President Mwai Kibaki signed a new constitution [JURIST report] into law in August 2010 as part of a reform movement aimed at curbing vast presidential powers. Kenya's new constitution includes numerous checks on presidential authority, among which are the creation of a supreme court and senate. The new constitution was approved [JURIST report] by popular referendum earlier that same month. The creation of a new constitution was part of a power-sharing agreement [JURIST report] reached in 2009 between Kibaki and opposition leader Prime Minister Raila Odinga [official website] that brought to an end the civil unrest that followed the contested election.

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