High Court rules police shouldn’t use firearms to protect property
Police officers cannot use their firearms unless they are acting in self-defence or preventing an imminent threat to life or serious injury to others, the Nairobi High Court ruled on Friday, December 16.
Friday’s ruling nullified amendments which expanded circumstances in which officers were allowed to use their firearms beyond self-defence and the protection of another person.
The ruling wraps up a petition filed in 2017 by Africa Center for Open Governance (AfriCOG) and Katiba Institute challenging amendments to the National Police Service Act.
According to the Katiba Institute, the amendments allowed officers, for example, to use their weapons to protect property even if there were no risk of serious physical harm to the officer or others.
The petitioners, who roped in the Attorney General as a respondent, argued that using firearms when there was no threat of serious harm to the officer or others was unconstitutional, violating the rights to life, human dignity, freedom and security of the person, and fair hearing.
Friday’s ruling therefore invalidates paragraphs 1(c), (d) & (e) of Part B of the Sixth Schedule to the National Police Service Act.
For human rights defender organizations and activists, Friday’s ruling further strengthens the case towards ending police brutality and police killings.
For years, Kenya has struggled to bring and end to the vices which have left families and communities in irreversible anguish.
In November, Missing Voices Coalition recorded five cases of police killings, and 12 in October.
While cases of police brutality and police killings continue to be reported, Missing Voices hope that Friday’s ruling and other court processes ongoing against rogue police officers can help steer Kenya towards being a state with police accountability.