NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 9 – British soldiers who commit crimes while training in Kenya will now be subjected to the Constitution of Kenya, as per the new Defence Co-operation Agreement (DCA).
Their counterparts from Kenya, training in the United Kingdom will also be subjected to their laws.
Defence Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo says the agreement will also enhance intelligence sharing between the two countries, policy formulation and training.
“British Forces who happen to commit crime in Kenya will be dealt with and be subject to Kenyan law except in instances when the offences are within the course of official duty,” she stated.
In case the soldier was undertaking official duties when he committed the offence, the agreement requires that the offence be tried within the jurisdiction of Kenya by British officials.
“When that occurs, the matter will be referred to an inter-governmental committee that will look at the offence and take to account any presentation by the Attorney General of the Republic of Kenya on the issues of public interest and justice,” she affirmed.
This, the CS said, will ensure the British soldiers are subject to the law, “so that there are no questions of impunity.”
In the agreement, she noted that there is a mechanism that will take to account the interest of both parties.
“It is a reciprocal requirement; if Kenyan soldiers are alleged to have committed crime in the UK, the same provisions will apply to them,” she said.
The document was signed by the Cabinet Secretary for Defence and new British High Commissioner Nic Hailey at the Kenya Defence Forces headquarters on Wednesday.
The British High Commissioner says the five-year agreement set to be ratified in the UK and Kenyan Parliaments will enhance defence co-operation between the two countries and increase interaction between Kenya Defence Forces services and UK Armed Forces.
“It will also enable the continuation of British military training in Kenya, worth approximately Sh9 billion per annum to the Kenyan economy,” he said.
“The UK is Kenya’s longest-standing defence and security partner, and both our countries want to see the relationship continue and grow. This new agreement is based on mutual respect for each other’s sovereignty, the Kenyan Constitution and the shared interest of our military relationship.”
Once the new Defence Co-operation Agreement is finalised, it will allow strengthened defence engagement in areas such as border security and Counter Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) capability, and capacity building to Kenya and other AMISOM troop-contributing countries.