Kenya’s Independent Policing Oversight Authority has launched investigations into the killings of the two victims who are allegedly suspected of being members of a gang. A video that went viral on the Internet showed an alleged police officer shooting several times at a man who apparently was unarmed and represented no imminent threat to anyone’s life.
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission) Country Rapporteur for the Republic of Kenya, Honourable Commissioner Dr. Solomon Ayele Dersso, the Special Rapporteur on Prisons, Conditions of Detention and Policing in Africa, Honourable Commissioner Med S.K. Kaggwa and the Chairperson of the Working Group on Death Penalty and Extra-Judicial and Summary or Arbitrary killings in Africa, Honourable Commissioner Kayitesi Zainabo Sylvie (the Commissioners) express their deep concern about the recent reports on the extra-judicial killings of two persons in public at Eastleigh, Nairobi, Republic of Kenya.
The reports revealed the alleged killings of two individuals captured in a video publicised on the websites of Kenya’s leading newspapers. The video showed a man lying in a pool of blood (first victim) and another person (second victim) being pulled by someone, allegedly a police Officer (first alleged Police Officer) in plain clothes while a uniformed person (second alleged Police Officer) was pushing back the crowd that was watching the scene.
The video further shows that the first alleged Police Officer used a gun and shot several times at the second victim who apparently was unarmed and represented no imminent threat/danger to someone’s life.
We acknowledge that the Kenya Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) has launched investigations into the killings of the two victims who are allegedly suspected of being members of a gang.
The Commission finds these reports, if true, as revealing prima facie unlawful use of lethal force by police officers that potentially involve serious violations of the provisions of the African Charter on human and Peoples’ Rights, in particular its Article 4 (Right to life) and Article 5 (Right to Dignity, Prohibition of Torture Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Punishment and Treatment).
- Note with appreciation the initiative from the Kenyan Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) to investigate the matter and urge the government to ensure that an independent, thorough and transparent investigation into the killings is conducted and all those responsible are held accountable in accordance with the African Charter;
- Urge the government to institute relevant institutional and accountability reforms that ensure that police officers fully respect and comply with human rights in the conduct of their duties including on the basis of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights’ General Comment No. 3 on the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the right to life (Article 4); and the Guidelines on the Conditions of Arrest, Police Custody and Pre-Trial Detention in Africa; and
- Call on the Government of Kenya to inform the public, as a measure of accountability and transparency, on the steps taken for investigating the killings and holding those responsible accountable.
More on this subject:
2. Naomi van Stapele (2016) ‘We are not Kenyans’: extra-judicial killings, manhood and citizenship in Mathare, a Nairobi ghetto. Conflict, Security & Development, 16:4, 301-325, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14678802.2016.1200313
4. Mathare Social Justice Centre: https://matharesocialjusticecentre.wordpress.com/
5. Kenyan Government on the spot for extrajudicial killings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPBpsLNkbIk&feature=youtu.be