Thursday, February 14, 2013

Post-poll chaos victims sue over police brutality

Kenya police officers guard the Nakuru-Naivasha highway which had been blocked by bands of youths protesting at the killings in the North Rift Valley at the height of the post election violence. Victims of police brutality during the 2008 post-election violence have gone to court, seeking compensation and public apology for the atrocities. Photo/ FILE

Kenya police officers guard the Nakuru-Naivasha highway which had been blocked by bands of youths protesting at the killings in the North Rift Valley at the height of the post election violence. Victims of police brutality during the 2008 post-election violence have gone to court, seeking compensation and public apology for the atrocities. Photo/ FILE   NATION MEDIA GROUP

By PAUL OGEMBA [email protected]

Victims of police brutality during the 2008 post-election violence have gone to court, seeking compensation and public apology for the atrocities.

Citizens Against Violence, Kalenjin Youth Alliance, South Rift Human Rights Advocacy Centre and the Independent Medico-Legal Unit want a court declaration that their rights were violated and are entitled to compensation.

They have sued the Attorney General, Director of Public Prosecutions, the National Police Service, former Police Commissioner Hussein Ali and former Administration Police commandant Kinuthia Mbugua.

Through lawyer Wilfred Nderitu, the victims argued that the police response to the post-election violence was brutal and indiscriminate.

“Government reports indicate that 405 people died as a direct result of police shooting and unknown number seriously wounded by police gun shots. Failure to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators and failure to provide remedies is a violation of the victims’ rights,” said Mr Nderitu.

He argued that the police action violated the victims’ constitutional right to life, prohibition of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, right to security, right to equality and freedom from discrimination as well as the right to remedy and rehabilitation.

According to the victims, Mr Ali, Mr Mbugua and the AG were aware of the tension surrounding the General Election and should have taken adequate measures to prevent the violence instead of turning to kill innocent civilians.

They claimed the three issued unlawful orders to police leading to the killings and injuries.

They argued that the respondents failure to regulate use of firearms and prepare control operations during the violence was a breach of the victims’ right to life.

Mr Nderitu claimed that the police shootings had never been investigated. “The government failure to independently investigate the shootings is a deliberate policy that seeks to avoid a situation whose outcome could implicate very senior police officers and top administrators in the Executive,” he said.

He noted that the police shootings amounted to crimes against humanity since they appeared “coordinated and systematic”, and targeted members of a specific group from Nyanza and Rift Valley provinces.

advertisement