Reforms and Accountability Department

The Reforms and Accountability department contributes towards reduction of systemic human Rights violations which is currently a key strategic focus for the Commission. Due to their nature, these violations affect an immense section of the Kenyan population especially the vulnerable groups. The Department has four main programmes: Security Sector Reforms programme, Transitional justice programme; Peace building and National Integration Programme; and the Judicial and Penal Reforms Programme. The programme also works around political accountability.

Focus areas

  1. Security Sector reforms: The programme works around reforms in the security sector, mainly dealing with the police service. The main focus has been working towards a reformed police service with the aim of bringing to an end police brutality, extra-judicial killings and other human rights violations by the police. This work is undertaken in partnership with other like-minded organizations like the USALAMA forum. 

  2. Penal and Judicial Reforms: The department also works on reforming key institutions in the country. The area of focus has been in prisons and the judiciary. In penal reforms, the focus is on ensuring that the rights of persons in detention/ custody are respected, the adherence of prison authority to the standard minimum rules on the treatment of prisoners and the implementation of the recommendation sin Madoka’s report on penal reforms.  The activities undertaken in this area include scheduled and unscheduled visits to places of detention. 

In judicial reforms, the department supports the establishment of court users committees in all court stations in the country to ease access t o justice by all and engages with the KMJA on access to justice issues including the vetting of judges and magistrates.

  1. Transitional justice: The Commission has since its inception been at the forefront in campaigning for the establishment of a credible and effective transitional justice mechanism to address the legacy of mass abuses committed by the successive governments. In actively pursuing the transitional justice agenda, the Commission is driven by the conviction that establishing truth about the past human rights violations, punishing those responsible and delivering justice is a prerequisite for establishment of democracy, a culture of respect for human rights and the rule of law. The department has worked closely with TJRC in the past in preparing victims to appear before the TJRC and monitoring the public hearings countrywide. Currently, the KNCHR is working with other partners on a reparations policy on historical injustice. 

  2. Peace building and national integration: The department also works towards ensured enjoyment of human rights in a peaceful environment.  This has been done through capacity building for the citizens on peace building initiatives and forums on the effects of negative ethnicity.

  3. Political accountability: The Political Accountability sub-department focuses on ensuring accountability and respect for human rights in the political processes. The main aim is to enhance and strengthen democracy and good governance in the country.  The department has been monitoring accountability in the part of political leaders which involves monitoring and documenting the misuse of public funds during electoral campaigns, voter education and monitoring the adherence of political parties to the Political Parties Act.