Memorandum to the National Dialogue Committee on Issues of Concern to The People of Kenya

Nairobi, 7 September 2023 – Amnesty International Kenya welcomes the National Dialogue Committee’s decision to invite Memoranda on Issues of Concern to the People of Kenya.

We focus the attention of the National Dialogue Committee on the pressing issue of unlawful use of lethal police force, extra-judicial executions, enforced disappearances and the in-ordinate delay in securing justice for those seeking police accountability. We submit this memorandum in the hope of finding a long-lasting solution.

Amnesty International Kenya specifically calls on the National Dialogue Committee to;

  1. Undertake as a matter of urgency a fact-finding mission to the counties most hit by the concerns we raise. The highest incidences of police brutality and violence took place in Nairobi, Nyanza, and Coastal counties. We offer our support to develop a schedule of community dialogues hosted by Social Justice Working Group, the network of community-based legal aid centres and the Missing Voices Alliance.
  2. Require the Inspector General of Police to publicly commit not to shield any of his officers accused of brutality, provide police data on police killings, and enforced disappearances in Kenya and respond to the Missing Voices Alliance data on police killings and enforced disappearances.
  3. Require the Inspector General of Police to offer a public apology to families and victims of police excesses during the March and August protests and provide a status update on the progress of investigations and prosecution of police officers and their commanders linked to excessive use of force.
  4. Encourage the Attorney General and the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government and National Assembly of Parliament to expedite the implementation of the Prevention of Torture Act and operationalize the National Coroners Service Act.
  5. Require Independent Policing Oversight Authority and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to investigate and prosecute the circumstances around the deaths of persons during this year’s peaceful protests as documented by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and other organisations with a view of holding individual officers and their commanders accountable.
  6. Recommend reviewing and repealing Kenyan laws and regulations on using force and firearms and public order management to ensure that force is only used in legal, accountable, necessary, ethical and proportionate circumstances, and the minimum amount required to accomplish the lawful objective.

Extra-Judicial Executions and Unlawful use of Deadly Force.

Amnesty International Kenya is alarmed by the sustained abuse, excessive use of force, enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings, especially of young people from Northern Kenya, The Coast, the urban and rural poor communities. There are no deliberate efforts from the police command and interior ministry to end this culture of abuse. The inordinate delays in cases is one of the most significant stumbling blocks in families search for justice and holding officers accountable. It also promotes impunity within the National Police Service.

Right to Assembly and Protest.

Amnesty International Kenya calls on the National Dialogue Committee to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths of persons as a result of police excesses while policing protests. We urge the Committee to recommend sanctions against commanders under whose jurisdiction these killings happened.

We also call upon the Committee to recommend National Assembly review of the Public Order Act to bring it to conformity with Article 24 of the constitution regarding the justifiable limitation of the right to peaceful assembly as enshrined in Article 37 of the Constitution

Enforced Disappearances

Amnesty International Kenya reiterates its call to the Committee to investigate the matter thoroughly and understand the implications of any abuses. We propose that the Committee ask the National Assembly to devise a law to criminalise enforced disappearances. Amnesty International and other partners under the Missing Voices Alliance are willing to support this process.

Prevention of Torture Act National Coroners Service Act.

Amnesty International Kenya strongly believes that operationalisation of these two laws are an essential to reduce human rights violations by improving the accuracy of forensic evidence. We call on the Committee to remind the Hon. Attorney General and the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government of their legal obligation to gazette regulations for the Prevention of Torture Act and the National Coroners Service Act and set aside adequate funding for the establishment of the National Coroners Service Secretariat and Council.

Independent Investigation by the Committee.

We call on the Committee to conduct a fact-finding mission to areas hit by recent violence in Nairobi, Kisumu, Migori, Nakuru, Mombasa, Machakos, Homabay. The Missing Voices Alliance, the Social Justice Working Group and the Mothers of Victims Support Group are available to facilitate this fact-finding mission. The mission will enable the Committee to meet survivors, victims families, human rights defenders, police officers and community leaders.