ICC prosecutor Karim Khan awarded honorary Doctorate by Mount Kenya University

ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan at MKU

From left, International Criminal Court  Prosecutor Karim Khan is conferred with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Mount Kenya University Chancellor Prof John Struthers during the university's 23rd graduation ceremony at its graduation square at Happy Valley in Thika town, Kiambu county, on Friday, August 4.

Photo credit: Simon Ciuri | Nation Media Group

International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan, better known in Kenya for his role in defending President William Ruto at the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity, was on Friday August 4 awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Mount Kenya University (MKU) for his immense contribution to the promotion of justice and humanity.

At the same event, MKU announced that it had waived Sh80 million owed by its former students who had long since completed their studies but could not collect their certificates due to fee arrears.

Mr Khan was the lead lawyer who defended then Deputy President (now Head of State) William Ruto and former radio journalist Joshua Sang when they were charged with crimes against humanity following the disputed 2007 post-election violence.

The duo's case was dismissed by the court in 2016.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Khan hailed the value of education in the growth and development of humanity.

"I encourage all of us to invest relentlessly in making education accessible and affordable. This will enable us to achieve an equitable society as envisioned by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 10 on reducing inequalities, for which MKU is the current United Nations Academic Impact Hub," he said.

Mr Khan took over as ICC prosecutor in February 2021, following the end of the term of Gambian Fatou Bensouda.

Speaking at the MKU graduation ceremony, the university's chairman and founder, Prof Simon Gicharu, said a large number of former students, whose livelihoods and those of their parents or guardians who paid their fees, had been adversely affected by the effects of Covid-19 and were unable to claim their certificates due to financial constraints.

He noted that it would be unfair to continue to hold their certificates and stagnate their employability prospects.

"The problem of uncollected certificates has been exacerbated by the COVID 19 pandemic. On behalf of the board, I would like to announce a waiver of all fines. We have written off the Sh80 million and all former students can now come and collect their certificates without paying a cent," Mr Gicharu said during the university's 23rd graduation ceremony held at Happy Valley graduation square in Thika, Kiambu County.

Mr Gicharu said the number of those affected stood at 4,000 from various academic disciplines.

"Over 4,000 former students have accumulated storage fees, library arrears and late return of graduation gowns. In total, the levies amount to about Sh80 million. In keeping with the university's motto, 'Unlocking Infinite Possibilities', we don't want to be an obstacle to unlocking infinite possibilities for you.  Therefore, we are extending this waiver and all former students can now come and collect their academic certificates," Mr Gicharu added.

On his part, Mount Kenya Vice-Chancellor Prof Deogratius Jaganyi said the university continues to invest in market-driven programmes, especially in research and innovation to complement industry needs, while addressing the issue of entrepreneurship that sustains and creates vast opportunities.

"The university has continued to attract both local and international students through our robust academic programmes that touch more on research and innovation with the aim of creating an environment where our graduates, apart from being employed, can pursue entrepreneurship and thrive and create a pool of business establishments that go beyond the employment approach," he said.

Speaker of the National Assembly Moses Wetang'ula, who was the chief guest, called on governments around the world to adopt multi-faceted strategies to address the issue of climate change.

At Friday's graduation ceremony, 6,108 students from 12 different countries were awarded degrees and diplomas. Among them were 15 doctorates, 349 master's degrees and 3,618 bachelor's degrees.