A group of mothers and widows of 22 victims of extrajudicial executions have sued the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General for allowing the killers of their sons to escape justice.
The victims have filed a class action suit at Milimani law court, detailing 22 cases in which their kin aged between 15 to 35 years were shot and killed by state agents in unclear circumstances.
The petitioners and International Justice Mission- a human rights body whose mission is to protect the poor from violence- says Inspector General of Police has not taken enough steps to adopt positive measures to prevent further extrajudicial killings.
And because of that failure, they want the Court to declare that Attorney General Paul Kihara is at liberty to advise President Uhuru Kenyatta on the importance of establishing a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to conduct independent and effective investigations into documented cases of extrajudicial killings.
According to the petitioners, the AG has unqualified obligation to advise the President on why a commission of inquiry is necessary to probe and address specific and systemic factors contributing to the high rate of extrajudicial killings in the country.
Despite numerous reports of police killings, the petitioners argue that families of those killed by police officers are still in the dark and are yet to find out from relevant agencies on what happened to their kin.
“The outcome of any investigations carried out into these killings is yet to be known, as the bereaved families and the public in general, are yet to be informed about the findings of such investigations,” says the victims.
“It is our contention that the state has not taken adequate step to adopt adequate positive measures to prevent further killings of individuals during police or law enforcement operations.”
The suit gives particulars of 22 murders linked to police officers that are yet to be resolved.
Among them is that of Brian Liuva Ondeko, a 23-year-old second-hand shoe dealer who was shot in Kawangware area on August 21, 2014.
Brian had gone to Gikomba market to buy second-hand shoes that he would, in turn, sell for profit. Thereafter, Brain returned home to Kawangware from Gikomba Market to have his lunch. He left shortly thereafter to deliver the stock purchased from Gikomba Market to a friend, named Simon. He never returned home.
A postmortem report carried out on August 29, 2014, indicates that he succumbed to multiple gunshot injuries to the head and the chest.
Brian’s family made a report to the police and IPOA, however to date, and despite making a report to the relevant authorities, they are yet to be informed of the findings and/or outcomes.
Lincoln Ambundo, 16, was shot dead by police alongside three other boys at Huruma Sports Ground on May 13, 2014. On the said date, Lincoln had gone to grounds for soccer practice.
His mother went to Huruma police station to report his killing and she was unable to do so because the police claimed they had killed a criminal.
A postmortem report dated May 27, 2014, shows that Lincoln died of gunshot wounds on the head and chest. Both shot entries were on the front and exited at the back. Lincoln was subsequently buried at Kisa in Butere. To date, the Police have never informed the family of the outcome of any investigation or inquiry of Lincoln’s death.
Similarly, the family of 17-year-old Joseph Kahara who was shot dead by police officers at Mlango Kubwa area in Pangani are yet to find out the truth. Kahara died as a result of multiple gunshot injuries to the chest. In an affidavit, Kahara’s mother Milka Wanjiku says her son used to help her run her vegetable business at Mathare area.
“It was his daily routine to go early in the morning to Wakulima Market popularly known as Marikiti. But on May 27 at 5 am he left for the market never to be seen again,” she says.
Wanjiku, a mother of eight, says on the fateful day she received a call from her daughter who informed her that Kahara had been shot by police.
Her son’s body, she says, was laying on his left body-side and had gunshot wounds on his chest. Up to date, her family has not been offered any explanation on the circumstances leading to her son’s death.
“If any investigations were done, my family are unaware of the outcome,” she adds.
Peter Ndegwa was 19 at the time of his death on March 7, 2017. He was shot dead by police officers within Kayole area. Though a police report states that he was a suspected robber, his family is yet to be explained what transpired then.
On April 19, 2016, eight young men were shot dead by police officers at Mukuru Kwa Ruben slums around Industrial Area following a false alarm.
The families of Albert Nyachae Marita 26, Elisha Mwashingadi Kiringa 24, Francis Kioko Mutiso 17, Nixon Obure, William Muthendu, Shadrack Ongata and Samuel Ndegwa are yet to be told why their sons were killed- even though they were all innocent.
Following the killings, the DPP ordered for an inquest and a file was opened though nothing much has happened since then.
“Failing to inform their family members of the existence of the inquest proceedings in regard to their deceased kin, and requiring their participation in the proceedings, the IG has violated their right to access to justice and information and truth,” read part of the court documents.
The same case applies to 22-year-old Hastings Esabu who was fatally shot by police based at Kabete police station on January 2010 at Nduara Road, Waithaka in Dagoretti.
The agency and families of the deceased say from the cases that have so far been documented, it is clear that the Kenyan police force, has miserably failed to observe the rights of the victims’ families to know the truth.
It is also their argument that they have a right to know the facts being investigated and that those responsible will be prosecuted and punished as appropriate.
“By withholding such vital information as to the existence of any investigation, the police have violated the Petitioners’ right to information as enshrined in the constitution,” says the lobby.
They now seek an order directing the IG to initiate prompt, thorough and impartial investigations into the circumstances under which they were killed.
Also sought is a declaration that IG has failed in his constitutional obligation to investigate instances where the use of force by police officers led to death, in total violation of Article 244(c) of the Constitution, and paragraph 6 of the Sixth Schedule of the National Police Service Act.
The court has also been called to issue a declaration that the failure IG to investigate instances where the use of force led to death amounts to a violation of the Petitioners’ right to equal protection and benefit of the law.
IJM says it decided to document the killings following the death of one of their own – Willie Kimani, who was killed alongside his client –Josephat Mwenda and driver Joseph Muiruri in June 2016. Five people, among them four administration police officers are on trial over the killings. The five include Fredrick Leliman, Leonard Maina, Stephen Chebulet, Silvia Wanjiku and informer Peter Ngugi.
The petition was borne after IJM together with partners in the Police Reforms Working Group launched a campaign against extrajudicial killings dubbed “Machozi ya Jana” in 2017. The campaign was a call for an end to the unlawful use of force by law enforcement agencies.
The campaign held eight community dialogues in the urban Nairobi slums of Kibera, Korogocho, Kamukunji, Dandora, Mukuru, Kwangware, Mathare and Kayole where families shared accounts of extrajudicial killings and their experience with police officers. Out of the 68 cases that were documented IJM found out that 22 of those cases deserved answers from police.