UN report on Wako, Ali gets more backing

February 27, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 27 – Human rights bodies on Friday backed the report by the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings that recommended the sacking of Police Commissioner Major General Hussein Ali and the resignation of Attorney General Amos Wako.

The organisations said the report by Professor Philip Alston was bold and a confirmation of what they had known and condemned for a long time.

Kenya Human Rights Commission Executive Director, Muthoni Wanyeki, said the government should recognise the widespread state perpetrated executions.

“However if the state decides not to act, we have the option of calling upon other member states of the United Nations who engage with our government on matters of security to take this report into account in terms of their bilateral dealings with the State,” Ms Wanyeki said.

“I am particularly talking here about the United Kingdom and United States governments and we will be doing everything within our power to ensure there is pressure from those quarters.”

Deputy Executive Director, Legal Resources Foundation Trust Henry Maina said the government should urgently act on the report.

“This is not the first time that people are pointing out that the Police Commissioner must be held accountable. We cannot continue brushing it aside. Even with Wako (the need to quit) it is quite clear,” said Mr Maina.  

At the same time, the rights groups in the country said they could not defend the civil liberties of ordinary Kenyans who had been tortured by illegal groupings such as the Mungiki.

Ms Wanyeki explained that their mandate only allowed them to ensure law enforcers did not violate the human rights of the perceived criminals.

She said ordinary Kenyans were supposed to have their human rights protected by the government while rights groups ensures the law enforcement upheld individual rights at all times when dealing with suspects.

“Unless an armed group, a militia criminal gang is in control of a given jurisdiction, we do not have a responsibility for human rights. The State is always the body that is responsible for human rights protection and promotion of its citizens,” she said.

“In other words although these groups may commit gross crimes and they do, those are criminal actions for which we as human rights organisations are not responsible for investigating, we are not criminal investigators that is the job of the security forces,” she added.

She said it was wrong to accuse the human rights bodies of not focusing on the necessity to deal with the rise of armed criminal gangs and militias in the country.

“We have done extensive work on Mungiki on ways that these groups should be approached without a hard-line kind of security response and handed it to the relevant authorities,” she said.

Mr Maina on the other hand said that although they don’t support the illegal groupings, members of such outfits should only be subjected to punishment within the law.

“We need to have reparations for the victims. This is a human rights concern that where the State acknowledges there were violations and that it slept on its duty to protect life, it owes those victims reparations,” he explained.


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