UN proposes radical changes in force

Published on

By Abiya Ochola and Cyrus Ombati

After ten days of investigation on extrajudicial killings, the UN Special Rapporteur has made 12 recommendations.

Mr Phillip Alston says the proposals are key to ending impunity and arbitrary executions.

Alston wants President Kibaki to publicly acknowledge the widespread extrajudicial killings: “His silence is both conspicuous and problematic.”

The UN official also demanded that Police Commissioner Maj-Gen Hussein Ali be immediately sacked.

“In the absence of such a step it will be impossible to conclude that there is a strong commitment at the very top to deal with this problem,” he said.

Pulled no punches

UN also called a resignation of Attorney-General Amos Wako an essential step to restoring the integrity of the office. He wants some of the AG’s powers curtailed.

“To ensure independent prosecutions, the prosecutorial powers held by the Attorney-General should be removed, and an independent Department of Public Prosecutions created,” Alston observed in a hard-hitting statement.

The Government should establish a Special Tribunal, which should be entrenched in the constitution.

“In the meantime, the Prosecutor of the ICC should immediately undertake an investigation into the commission of crimes against humanity by certain individuals in the aftermath of the 2007 elections,” he said.

The creation of an independent civilian well-funded police oversight body with investigatory powers would help prosecute police officers suspected of executions.

Alston added: “Clear orders should be provided to all members of the security forces that under no circumstances will unlawful killings by the law enforcement or security forces be tolerated.”

Also recommended is the centralisation of police records with a requirement that all police stations report incidences of “criminal” killings by the police as soon as they occur.

“The complete statistics of police killings should be made public on a monthly basis and past records be made publicly accessible,” he said.

Vet officers

UN also wants an across-the-board vetting of the police as part of a comprehensive reform along the lines recommended by the Waki Commission and as reflected in Agenda 4.

Those initiatives should not be held hostage to the debates on the Special Tribunal.

Alston also wants Kenya National Commission on Human Rights reports tabled in Parliament after they are presented to the Minister for Justice.

“The Government should provide an official and substantive response to all KNCHR reports,” he said.

Other recommendations include establishment of well-funded witness protection program independent from the security forces and AG and compensation to families of victims.

|   |    |    Comment (1) |   Add Comment

Today’s magazine

    Sunday Magazine
A will to live: Lorna’s kidney odyssey

The name Lorna Irungu rekindles memories of the 1990s TV game show Omo Pick a Box, the Vijana Tugutuke voting campaign and an upbeat, energetic and feisty young woman who is always ready to use her talents to champion a cause. But Lorna’s life is not all fun and games. The 35-year-old has had more than her fair share of pain and suffering. She has battled lupus and kidney failure for more than 10 years, and her most recent ordeal has left her asking what God really wants of her. Having already undergone two kidney transplant operations, Lorna never imagined she would need a third.