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JCE and IDLO launch key election preparedness publications

The Judiciary and the International Development Law Organisation (IDLO) launched the Judiciary Committee on Elections (JCE) 2016 Annual Report and the Avoiding Violence and Enhancing Legitimacy: Judicial Preparedness for Handling Electoral Disputes in Kenya and Beyond brief.

The JCE 2016 Final Report includes detailed information about the Committee’s structure and mandate, its Strategic Plan, electoral reforms and law development, achievements and challenges as well as the way forward for future election disputes resolution (EDR) process. It is a reflection of the JCE work in 2016 and the 2017 projections.

The brief on lessons learned on the other hand has a brief on challenges faced by Judiciaries in emerging democracies in handling electoral disputes including judicial independence, EDR frameworks, public confidence and judicial preparations.

Background

To avoid a recurrence of the 2007 post-election violence and in conformity with the transformation within the Judiciary, an effective and efficient Electoral Dispute Resolution (EDR) process was established in the run up to the 2013 General Election. The Judiciary established a temporary committee – the Judiciary Working Committee on Election Preparations (JWCEP) in May 2012 – to, among other things: advise the Judiciary on administrative arrangements and measures for the efficient disposal of election related disputes; design and execute a Judiciary programme to build the capacity of Judges, Magistrates and other Judicial Officers on electoral matters; design a system for monitoring and evaluating the management of election related disputes in court; liaise with and coordinate stakeholders to ensure effective and timely resolution of election related disputes and offences as well as advise the Judiciary on public outreach strategies on the election process.

Following the conclusion of the 2013 EDR process and ahead of the 2017 General Elections, JWCEP was made a permanent Committee of the Judiciary and renamed the Judiciary Committee on Elections (JCE) in August 2015 by the then Chief Justice Dr. Willy Mutunga. Several other key institutions continue to push for policy and legislative reforms related to electoral dispute resolution in Kenya as a lead up to the 2017 elections. These institutions include: the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties, the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal (PPDT), the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the Kenya Law Reform Commission (KLRC) and the National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC). Other organisations such as IDLO, UNDP among others have also stepped their support upwards towards various programmes geared towards improving EDR process.

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