Options for Transitional Justice in Kenya: Autonomy and the Challenge of External Prescriptions

While there is broad agreement among key partners in Kenya’s government of national unity (GNU) on the need to implement transitional justice measures, the lack of a coherent approach by the government has to date hampered the debate in significant ways and will determine the future efficacy of anymechanism adopted. Key areas of concern include the efforts by political elites to capture the debate; the silencing of important voices; a failure to identify and define all key issues to be addressed by any transitional justice mechanisms employed; and a failure to fully understand the role of external institutions, such as the International Criminal Court (ICC). The article reviews the evolving transitional justice debate in Kenya and assesses the accountability options available, noting in particular the role of international norms and institutions in influencing the feasibility of local options. In this regard, the article interrogates key questions related to autonomy, including the question of whose justice and which mechanisms will be taken forward in the Kenyan context and how this will be determined.