5 April 1999

Kenya: Seminar To Examine Kenya's Criminal Justice System

Nairobi — Legal experts and members of the Prisons Department assemble in Nyeri Town tomorrow to access Kenya's criminal justice system. Lawyers and judicial officers will discuss ways of sensitising key stakeholders in the criminal justice system on the rights of the accused persons.

The four-day workshop is organised by the Judiciary, in collaboration with the Public Law Institute. It will attempt to create public awareness on the functioning of the criminal justice process.

The meeting, to be held at Outspan Hotel, is one in a series of several countrywide seminars which began early last year. Tomorrow's workshop is being funded by the United Nations Development Programme. It is expected to attract key stakeholders in the criminal justice system from Nairobi.

The seminar will create awareness on the functioning of the criminal justice process. Participants will be drawn from the judiciary, police force, Attorney-General's chambers, prisons, probation and children's departments, the provincial administration and the Law Society of Kenya.

Some of the expected speakers are the law institute's director, Dr Oki Ooko Ombaka, former LSK chairman Nzamba Kitonga and lawyer Mohammed Nyaoga.

Mr. Kitonga will present a paper on 'The rights of prisoners', while Mohammed's paper will dwell on 'The conduct of appeals and reviews.' An official from the prisons department will look at 'Prisons in Kenya: The way forward.'

The law institute's head of programmes, Ms Pauline Nyamweya, said in a statement yesterday:

"Lack of legal awareness as a problem associated with attainment of justice is underscored by the fact that the operation of the law is such that it affects all aspects of our daily lives. Yet (this) remains a mystery to most citizens, save the legal profession".

She said that the law remains largely incomprehensible even to the literate, for being promulgated in technical jargon. Similar workshops have been held in Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa, Kericho, Baringo and Nakuru. Tomorrow's seminar will be the second to be held in Nyeri.

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