Lawyers offer free services in poll chaos cases

May 11, 2012 3:57 pm
LSK chairman Eric Mutua said his office is willing to help the ODPP which has an acute shortage of prosecutors/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 11 – The Law Society of Kenya has said it will offer free legal services in the prosecution of the 5,000 cases of post election violence cases pending with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP).

LSK chairman Eric Mutua said his office is willing to help the ODPP which has an acute shortage of prosecutors.

“We may offer services for free… there is a question of the DPP’s capacity and time is running out. The LSK and its membership has offered to team up with the DPP and prosecute some of these cases of course given authority by the office of the DPP,” he asserted.

Mutua further said LSK is willing to work with the ODPP closely to also act on hate speech cases which he said were a great concern citing careless remarks made by politicians especially during political rallies.

“We have seen a trend where the political elite have been making utterances which would fall under offences, we have agreed at times we will offer services in respect to the crimes that border on hate speech,” he pledged.

DPP Keriako Tobiko said it was necessary that Kenya concludes the post election violence cases before the next general election to avoid a repeat of the chaos.

He said however due to budgetary constraints prosecution services for the cases will be affected.

“Due to financial constraints, our capacity to effectively and efficiently investigate and prosecute maybe impaired,” he said.

He said out of the 5,000 files, the Multi Agency Task Force had received 3,500 cases and processed 1,500 already.

Mutua further expressed concerns that the ODPP was not being well funded denying it to operate independently as stipulated in the Constitution.

“I am surprised that though the office is said to be independent and autonomous it appears that not much support has been offered to this office in terms of capacity. If at all there is some seriousness, to implement what the Constitution says in terms of autonomy, much more needs to be done,” he noted.

On Wednesday, Tobiko informed the Parliamentary Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs that his office was inadequately funded, affecting delivery of service.

He asked Parliament to push for the ODPP to be fully allocated the Sh3.28 billion the office has requested for the 2012/2013 budget.


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