Apply extradition laws equally says KNCHR

May 28, 2011 5:11 pm

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 28 – The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) now says laws safeguarding the rights of individuals accused of committing crimes abroad should be applied equally regardless of a person\’s status or social background before the commencement of the extradition process.

A commissioner Hassan Omar Hassan said on Saturday that the government should carefully scrutinise requests from other countries and hold culpable individuals to account.

“The government must ensure that it is fair to its citizens across the board. It must never discriminate on application of the law. It must be just, fair and must seem to discharge that responsibility very diligently,” he said.

“In the event that they fail to meet that expectation, then there needs to be accountability and the citizens must continue to demand their full rights from the government.”

Speaking to Capital Newsbeat, he pointed out that such action will bolster the confidence of Kenyans and assure them of the government\’s protection should such a situation arise.

“There is the law for the rich and the law for the poor.  When the rich break the law, seldom do they face the full wrath of the law if at all,” he explained.  “However, when they do face it, then you find that almost all provisions and rights accorded by the law are respected and taken into account whereas the poor are treated with such contempt.”

Mr Hassan further stated that stern action on all guilty individuals will deter anybody from committing crimes.

“Whether one is rich or poor, they need to be accorded the same kind of safeguards and the same kinds of rights and obligations. The law is supposed to be applied equally and equitably to all Kenyans,” he said.

He stressed the need for individuals who commit crimes in others countries should be dealt with accordingly saying that this will reduce the culture of impunity and corruption so prevalent in the country.

“We as a country are enthusiastic to see that this process is finalized in a just and fair manner so that these individuals can face trial. Corruption has been so prevalent in the country that we will support any action that will prevent this vice,” he stated.

He however said that the law should be followed in its entirety when dealing with the extradition of such individuals.

“The extradition is such that the Attorney General does receive the request through either the foreign office or directly from the Attorney General of the requesting state. The request is then requested before the court before it orders the extradition on the basis of reasonable evidence presented before it,” he pointed out.

“If the offence is such that it also troubles Kenya, then I believe the court will order that the person be extradited.”

Last Monday, Attorney General Amos Wako instructed the Chief Public Prosecutor Keriako Tobiko, to confirm the merit of a case involving Nambale MP Chris Okemo and former KPLC Managing Director Samuel Gichuru before Kenya considers extraditing them to the UK to face corruption charges.

The two are wanted in Britain for corruption and money laundering charges that were preferred against them by the Chief Justice of the Island of Jersey where it is alleged that the two had stashed their ill-gotten money.

Mr Wako argued that he would only give the authority to extradite them, if the prosecutor found them answerable to the cases preferred against them.

He also added that Kenya had made several requests to Britain among them the extradition of Yagnesh Devani, who is wanted over the Triton oil scandal, as well as Bishop Gilbert Deya, who is wanted in the country on various allegations of child thefts.

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