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UN probe indicts Kenya on police killings
February 25, 2009
By Lucas Barasa and Bernard Namunane (Daily Nation)
- Prof Philip Alston has called for AG Amos Wako and Major General Hussein Ali to step aside to facilitate investigations into the killings.
- Report calls for across the board vetting of current Police Force.
A United Nations investigator has recommended the sacking of Kenya’s Attorney General and the Police Commissioner over extra judicial killings.
Prof Philip Alston has called for AG Amos Wako and police boss Major General Hussein Ali to step aside to facilitate investigations into the killings.
He blamed the police for the widespread killings of youths, believed to belong to the outlawed Mungiki sect and scores of Kenyans at the height of post election violence.
At least 1,133 people were killed during violence that was triggered by a disputed presidential election in 2007.
A further 350,000 were rendered homeless after the opposition contested President Kibaki’s victory saying he had rigged the poll.
His report, released on Wednesday at the UN offices in Gigiri, Nairobi, gave various recommendations, among them the sackings of Wako and Ali.
Others are: That President Kibaki publically acknowledges the widespread extra judicial killings and the need for sweeping reforms in the police sector.
- The creation of an independent civilian police oversight body to probe the killings.
- Provision of clear orders to all members of security forces that under no circumstances will unlawful killings by law enforcement agencies be tolerated.
- All police killings be recorded and centralised at police headquarters in Nairobi.
- Government of Kenya should establish a constitutionally entrenched Special Tribunal as recommended by the Waki Commission.
Prof Alston said formation of a local tribunal is indispensable if justice is to be done "and if appropriate lessons are to be learned before the next elections."
"An international tribunal cannot possibly achieve justice on a broad scale in this regard," he said.
In the meantime, Prof Alston recommended that ICC prosecutors should take over the cases.
"The Prosecutor of the ICC (Moreno Ocampo) should immediately undertake, of his own volition, an investigation into the commission of crimes against humanity by certain individuals in the aftermath of 2007 elections."
- Across the board vetting of current Police Force
- The government should also set up an independent commission for Mt Elgon, modelled on Waki, to investigate human rights abuses from 2005 to 2008.
In the course of his ten-day visit, the UN Special Rapporteur visited Nairobi, Central, Rift Valley, Western and Nyanza Provinces.
His visits in Nyanza and Rift Valley provinces, he said, gathered detailed evidence from victims of police violence "involving gratuitous or indiscriminate shooting, with little or no relevance to the exigencies of controlling rioters or looters."
He was perturbed that police in Rift Valley said they had not opened investigations into the killings because no one had complained. In Eldoret, he said, police said two officers had been charged with murder.
In Nyanza, he said, police said they had forwarded 60 files of the 85 cases they had recorded of those killed by bullet wounds to the Attorney General for assessment.
"And yet when it came to evidence of looting that occurred in Nyanza after the election results were announced, they were able to produce for extensive documentation," Prof Alston said.
Saying the State should bear responsibility for over the more than 1,133 people killed during the post-election violence, the UN Special Rapporteur accused government agencies of failing to prevent or adequately prepare for violence that ought to have been anticipated.
He added that high ranking government officials were directly involved in inciting, funding and organising the violence.
"The police were directly responsible for shooting demonstrators and others, especially in Nyanza province," he said.
Prof Alston met with senior Government officials including Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Justice minister Martha Karua, Assistant minister of Defence, the Chief of Police and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, as well as officials at the provincial and district levels.
First seen in the Daily Nation. Thanks to Lucas Barasa, Bernard Namunane and the Daily Nation for covering these documents.