In October 2009, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) and the International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC) undertook a needs-assessment mission to Kenya in order to examine the current functioning of the judicial system and to identify and priorities ways in which support might be provided to the ongoing process of justice sector reform.

Based on our observations, there is a clear, present and incontrovertible need for judicial reform. Public confidence in the judicial system has virtually collapsed. Both the Government of Kenya and the Kenyan judiciary have acknowledged the need to restore public confidence in the judicial system and have taken steps in this direction.

In the opinion of the IBAHRI and ILAC, isolated reforms will not alone be fundamental enough to transform the Kenyan judiciary into a strong, credible and independent institution. If public trust in Kenya’s judicial system is to be fully restored, administrative and technical reforms must be accompanied by institutional reform directed towards establishing the Kenyan judiciary as an independent institution for the fair administration of justice. Such change will require, ultimately, the enactment of a new Constitution.

Only through a political will to strengthen the rule of law, may Kenya satisfy both its international obligations and the popular aspirations and demands of its people.