Kenya pressured to stop illegal killings

February 26, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 26 – Pressure is piling on the government to implement a report by the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights on extrajudicial killings, which recommended that the Police Commissioner and Attorney General vacate office.

US Ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger said on Thursday that it was unwise for the government to trash the preliminary report by Professor Phillip Alston so hastily.

“It’s obviously a mistake to reject the report before you have even read it. All that has come out so far is just the summary while the report will come out in June,” the Ambassador said. “I think that it’s appropriate to wait until the report is out, but action has to be taken.”

He spoke after opening an economic forum in Nairobi, where he said that a report by his government on the same issue had revealed the same findings.

“The question is what the government is going to do about it?”

The government announced late Wednesday its total rejection of a report released by Prof Alston branding it a ‘sham’.

An official statement posted on the Government Spokesman’s website said Prof Alston did not meet the required international standards in releasing his report, which among other things, called for the sacking of Police Commissioner Major General Hussein Ali and the resignation of Attorney General Amos Wako.

“The Government rejects the findings and recommendations made in a press statement made by the UN Special Rapporteur Prof Philip Alston,’ read the statement from Dr Alfred Mutua.

He added that the Government was particularly concerned with what is referred to in the statement as ‘far reaching’ conclusions and recommendations on the basis of his interim report.

Dr Mutua said that they’re further concerned that such a report had been released without having sought a Government response in accordance to the principles of natural justice and international practice.

He said the preliminary report by Prof Alston had gone beyond his mandate, “does not encourage dialogue and appears to have been made in bad faith almost impinging on matters of sovereignty, especially as it relates to executive prerogative to appoint.”

Prof Alston is in the country at the invitation of the government to investigate the alleged extra-judicial killings by security forces and has visited various parts of the country where he held a series of meetings with witnesses and affected families.

In his report, Prof Alston questions the continued silence by President Mwai Kibaki whom he accused of having failed to institute reforms in the police department despite having received recommendations from various civil rights organisations and the Waki Commission which documented the post election violence.

The UN envoy also expressed frustrations with the arrogance of security agencies, who have denied that any illegal killings have taken place.


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