William Ruto vs Kenya National Commission on Human Rights

William Ruto

Monday, May 07, 2012 

William Ruto had made an application to the High Court in November 2009 requesting it to quash the KNCHR Report on the 2007–2008 Post Election Violence dubbed “On the Brink of the Precipice”. He claimed that the KNCHR had violated his rights by not affording him an opportunity to be heard concerning the allegations made against him on his role in the violence.

The Ruto Case came up for Judgment on 4th May 2012 before Justices Warsame, Githua and Korir. Ruto’s Application for Judicial Review was dismissed. The following are the reasons given by the Court:

  1. On the issue of Jurisdiction of the Court, Section 33 of the KNCHR Act (Repealed) did not oust the jurisdiction of the High Court to Supervise the KNCHR. No body is immune to the Supervisory jurisdiction of the High Court. The Court therefore had jurisdiction to hear and determine this case.

  2. On the issue of Natural Justice, the Court said that the Applicant was not confronted with accusations and allegations made against him and required to respond. This is against natural justice. However, the Court noted that the circumstances prevailing at the time were such that allowed the application of natural justice to be suspended. It would have been risky for the Commission to divulge information obtained from witnesses to the Applicant. Some matters can be kept secret in public interest. 

  3. The Commission undertook its investigations and made its Report in good faith and was discharging its statutory mandate. The Commission did not treat the Applicant any different from other people mentioned in the Report. 

  4. The Report subject matter of the proceedings was the Report launched in August 2008 and not the relaunched report of 19th July 2009. Whatever was said in the Report launched in August 2008 about the Applicant did not change in the subsequent Report released in July 2009. 

  5. The Applicant did not file his Application in time as required in Judicial Review matters. He filed 6 months after the launch of the Report and did not give a reason for his delay in filing thus the orders sought were not deserved. 

  6. The report had already been used by third parties and it would not have been practical to grant the orders that were sought by the Applicant.

  7. Costs were not awarded due to the public interest nature of the case. 

The Applicant (William Ruto) was granted leave to appeal against the Court’s decision.

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