We, the undersigned national and international organizations, under the auspice of the Police Reforms Working Group- Kenya (PRWG-K) condemn the summary execution of a young man in Nairobi’s Eastleigh on 31 April 2017 by an officer believed to be attached to the Pangani Police Station, as shown in the video widely circulated on social and mainstream media.
In the video, the plain-clothed police officer is seen shooting at a prostrate young man identified by the police as a member of one of Eastleigh’s urban gangs. Next to him is the lifeless body of another young man in a pool of blood who apparently was shot earlier.
Nairobi Police Commander Japheth Koome defended the killings saying, in a statement, that: “The same gangsters shot dead an officer yesterday. Tell all gangsters out there that when they kill an officer, I am ruthless and they will get it from me.” This shows that the police’s leadership either condones or sanctions extrajudicial execution of suspected criminals.
Police Reforms Working Group- Kenya (PRWG-K) wishes to express its grave concern over the rising incidents of deaths through police’s illegal use of lethal force. Over the last 15 months, human rights groups and media organizations have reported multiple incidents of torture and extrajudicial executions implicating police officers.
The latest case is not an isolated one, but an indication of a broader and widespread pattern of extrajudicial executions by the police as documented by human rights groups and the media. The cases of Kwekwe Mwandaza from Kinango, Kwale County, Dennis Ongwae Magomere and Felix Ngaywa Nyagena, who were both from Egerton University ,Willie Kimani, a lawyer with International Justice Mission (IJM), his client Josphat Mwenda, a motorcycle rider, and Joseph Muiruri, a taxi driver are a few of the many cases that got covered in the media.
The usual response of the police’s leadership is that the executions are carried out by a few rogue officers, and that the police service has no official shoot-to-kill policy. However, the police leadership hardly undertakes credible, impartial and effective investigations into the reported cases.
The actions of the police officer on 31 March 2017 clearly contravene Article 26 of the Constitution, which asserts that every person has the right to life. A person shall not be deprived of life intentionally, except to the extent authorized by the Constitution or other written law. Further, the National Police Service Act 2011 Schedule 6 (B) provides that ‘Firearms may only be used when less extreme measures are inadequate, and for the following purposes: a) saving or protecting the life of the officer or other persons; and b) self-defense or in defense of other person against imminent threat of life or serious injury. In the video, it was evident that the suspect was subdued.
To address the pattern of extrajudicial executions in Kenya, we call on:
President Uhuru Kenyatta, to:
- Promptly establish an independent judicial commission of inquiry to conduct thorough investigations into allegations of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, torture and other ill-treatment of suspected criminals and detainees by the Kenya Police and other military, security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
- The commission should also examine the extent and causes of continued and persistent lack of individual and command accountability for the same, with a view to ensuring changes in conduct, which is in line with international, regional and Constitutional human rights standards
- Further, unless the interest of justice dictates otherwise and only to the extent deemed necessary for the purpose of criminal prosecution, the Commission’s findings should be made public. Otherwise they should be handed over to a judicial authority to pursue prosecutions.
- Speedily assent the National Coroners Bill 2017 to provide for independent forensic investigations of questionable deaths.
- Ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which Kenya signed on the 6th of February 2007.
Independent Policing Oversight Authority and Internal Affairs Unit
- Expedite investigations into the summary execution of the young man and forward the report to the director of public prosecutions office for further action against all officers found culpable.
- Inform the nation on various breaches against the National Police Service Act on the use of lethal force and recommend to NPSC superior commanders for disciplinary action for non-compliance with the National Police Service Act
The National Police Service Commission
- The National Police Service Commission should institute disciplinary actions against other police officers who were at the scene or were involved in killing the two young men, including against the Nairobi County Commandant Japheth Koome.
- Immediately vet and remove police officers involved in extrajudicial killings including those from units within the Directorate of Criminal Investigations also linked to extrajudicial killings.
Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)
International Commission of Jurists –Kenya (ICJ-K)
Legal Resources Foundation (LRF)
International Jurists Mission (IJM)
Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU)
Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR)
Rights Promotion and Protection Centre (RPP)
Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya (FIDA-K)
Coalition on Violence against Women (COVAW)
National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (NCHRD)
Kenyans For Peace, Truth and Justice (KPTJ)
Usalama Reforms Forum
Amnesty International – Kenya
Katiba Institute (KI)
Society for International Development
International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ-K)
Chemi Chemi Wa Ukweli
Kariobangi Paralegal Network
Shield for Justice