IPOA probing 243 killings by police in twelve months

October 5, 2018 (2 weeks ago) 3:27 pm
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The cases were reported in the last 12 months/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 5 – The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) is currently probing 243 killings caused by police.

The cases were reported to the authority in the last 12 months.

Also being investigated are 86 cases where security agencies are being accused of inflicting serious injuries on victims.

IPOA head of complaints department Diana Watila says already three police officers have been convicted over extra-judicial killings.

“Other cases are currently under investigation while others are under review by the Director of Public Prosecutions,” she told right groups at the ongoing East Africa consultative forum on extra-judicial executions and enforced disappearances.

IPOA has however over the recent past been tasked over the few successful prosecutions but the head of complaints department says investigations are often marred by a myriad of challenges.

She singled out poor documentation of medico legal evidence, non-cooperation, misunderstood mandate by police and fear of victimization by both victims and witnesses by perpetrators.

Since its inception, the authority has received 10,381 complaints against authorities.

“Majority of the complaints received and handled revolved around acts that do not befit a police officer and thus constitute police misconduct,” she revealed.

Some of the complaints are bribery, extortion, inaction, harassment, arbitrary arrest, unlawful detention, assault, killings, welfare issues, degrading cells and recruitment issues among others.

“The issue of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances still remains to be a challenge, identification of witnesses and having witnesses to freely testify is a challenge,” she said.

She was speaking during the forum organised by the Independent Medico Legal Unit (IMLU) in partnership with United Nations office of the High Commissioner-Kenya, seeking to discuss in depth the issue of extra-judicial execution and enforced disappearances.

Kenya will next year submit its implementation report for the next Universal Periodic Review (UPR) review before the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The country will also undergo a review before the UN Committee against Torture, known as CAT.

On Thursday, Marcella Favretto, a senior human right advisor–OHCHR, raised alarm over the few cases of arrests and prosecution over the vices, despite the cases remaining widespread.

She has called on authorities to come out openly and condemn any act that infringes on rights of the people by ensuring perpetrators are brought to book.

“Over the years, serious concerns about extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances have featured prominently in UN communications to the Government of Kenya, treaty body and UPR recommendations, all pointing to the urgency of effective prevention, accountability and remedies,” Favretto asserted.

According to IMLU statistics, 822 people died from police bullets between 2013 and June 2018.

Of these, 58 happened between January and June this year.

IMLU acting program coordinator Carol Tunnen says of these are cases of summary executions, people killed during ‘protection’ of property while other lost their lives under unclear circumstances.

According to the statistics, there are 44 cases of summary executions between January and June.

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