Big win for human rights defenders as President Kenyatta assents to anti-torture law

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President Uhuru Kenyatta receives documents from Attorney General Githu Muigai before assenting to anti-torture law. PHOTO/PSCU

PSCU – President Uhuru Kenyatta has assented to a law that gives effect to provisions of the Constitution of Kenya that guarantee freedom from torture, cruelty and punishment.

The new law outlines the principles of the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

The legislation provides for reparations to victims of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

The new law also empowers the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) to investigate alleged violations under the Act.

The Act empowers the KNCHR to monitor compliance by the State with international treaty obligations relating to torture and inhuman treatment.

The KNCHR also gets the role to advise Government, liaise with public entities and work with enforcement agencies in matters relating to torture.

The President also signed into law, the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2016, to make amendments to existing laws.

The Judicature Act was amended to include a provision to provide for the retirement age of judges as seventy years.

The amendments also reinstate vacation for judges and also deal with retirement benefits for the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice. The law on retirement will address the issue of benefits for the immediate former CJ and DCJ.

Also amended is the National Police Service Act to include a provision that gives the Head of State the powers to appoint a suitable officer to act in case the office of the Deputy Inspector General of Police is vacant.

The Refugees Act 2006, (No 13 of 2006) was amended to place administration of refugees under the Refugees Secretariat while the Persons with Disabilities Act 2003 (No 14 0f 2003) was amended to streamline membership of the Board.

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