Police must not become prosecutors, judges and hangmen; Human rights defenders
The police must not take on the role of being prosecutors, judges and hangmen, but rather be the first agents of justice in criminal proceedings, according to human rights defenders.
Missing Voices Coalition Coordinator Alexander Mbela and Independent Medico Legal Unit (IMLU) Programme Officer Livingstone Nyando made the call in an interview with TV 47.
The two made passionate pleas to Kenya’s security agencies to streamline the quest for justice by eliminating extrajudicial killings, which have dogged the country for years.
“They [police] should arrest suspects and take them to court. But the [rogue police] decide to finish the suspects as they deal with the case instantly. And when incidents like these continue to happen and the cases increase, it feels like Kenya does not have a Constitution and there are no laws set to deal with criminal cases,” said Mbela.
“The suspects should be taken through the due legal process. But when a suspect is shot dead by a police officer, it means the suspect has lost the right to defend himself in a court of law,” he added.
On his part, Nyando spelled out the essence of the various agencies tasked with different responsibilities along the path to justice.
He noted that police who take matter into their own hands leave other agencies at a loss.
“The primary responsibility for the police should conducting investigations and arresting the suspects,” he said.
“They should then hand them over to the Director of Prosecutions, who will consider the evidence and open a case. They then head to court, which will then listen to both sides. If the court finds them guilty, it will take necessary action.
“If we allow the police to continue killing and taking matters into their own hands, then that means it won’t be necessary to have all the other agencies.”
Together with Enforced Disappearances, Kenya is still plagued by police killings despite concerted efforts by various human rights organizations.
Mbela and Nyando’s remarks at TV 47 summed up the missions of Missing Voices Coalition and other related human rights defender organizations and individuals; End Enforced Disappearances and Police Killings.
Missing Voices reiterated the provisions of the Kenyan Constitution, which spell out the right to life as well as the right to a fair trial for suspects.
The vices have lasting impacts on victims and their families.
Missing Voices reiterates the need to follow the laid out legal process in criminal proceedings, which give suspects a chance at a fair trial.