, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 15 – The Independent Medico Legal Unit has welcomed Monday’s ruling in which two police officers were sentenced for seven years in jail for killing a schoolgirl in Kwale.
Inspector Veronica Gitahi and Constable Issa Mzee were jailed for killing 14-year old Kwekwe Mwandaza when they raided her family home.
The court however rejected a request that the two officers compensate her family.
IMLU Executive Director Peter Kiama says the ruling will enhance police accountability when it comes to cases of extra-judicial killings.
“While the criminal act attracts a maximum penalty of life in prison, we welcome the conviction of manslaughter and the seven year sentence against the two officers,” he said during a press briefing at the IMLU offices in Nairobi.
“We commend the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Independent Policing Oversight Authority and for the court for its speedy investigations and dispensation of justice.”
IMLU was directly involved in the case and even secured an order from the High Court to enable the family actively participates in the criminal proceedings.
They initially challenged the “questionable and bizarre investigations conducted by the police in the case” together with other human rights organisations.
As a result, the lobby group filed an application under a certificate of urgency in the Mombasa High Court, seeking orders for exhumation of the body of the deceased, “for the purposes of conducting an independent post mortem examination.”
Kiama lamented that “the earlier post mortem examination had been conducted unprofessionally against forensic documentation protocols and only deserved to defeat the pursuit of justice for the victim and family.”
On September 9, 2014, the High Court in Mombasa granted the orders directing the exhumation and post-mortem examination.
Following the successful prosecution of the two officers, Kiama called on the government to strengthen civilian oversight mechanisms and enact the National Coroners Bill 2015, that provide for independent forensic investigations of questionable deaths.
“Kwekwe’s execution is a clear case where a nation failed to safeguard the life of one of the most vulnerable in society – a child,” he lamented.