Police officers implicated in 2017 Baby Pendo killing to take plea next week
UPDATE: Case moved to January 30, 2023,
The trial of twelve police officers implicated in the 2017 murder of Baby Samantha Pendo and other atrocities committed during the 2017 post-election period in Kisumu will begin on Monday, November 21.
High Court Judge Daniel Ogembo directed on Monday that Titus Yoma, Titus Mutune, John Chengo, Linah Kogey, and Benjamin Kipkoskei take plea relating to charges of murder as crime against humanity, rape as a crime against humanity and torture as a crime against humanity.
Others who will face trial are Benjamin Lorema, Volker Edambo, Cyprian Robe, Josphat Sensira, Mohammed Baa and James Rono.
The suspects appeared before Justice Ogembo but were not required to plead to any charges.
Through their lawyers, they asked the court to suspend the case for two months to allow them to pursue several other applications they have filed challenging the constitutionality of their trial.
They told the court that the case affects their constitutional rights and that, because the case has already been in court for five years, delaying it further to allow them to resolve the preliminary issues would not be detrimental.
But victims, through a team of human rights lawyers, raised objections to that application.
The rights lawyers argued that delaying the matter would be prejudicial to victims, like baby Pendo, who is deceased, and others who were left maimed by the actions of the accused persons.
Submitting before the judge, International Justice Mission lawyer Edward Mbanya said suspending the trial would be tantamount to denying victims the right to justice.
His sentiments were echoed by those of other victims’ lawyers drawn from the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), Independent Medical Legal Unit (IMLU), and Utu Wetu, all of whom asked the judge to decline the request to suspend the trial.
The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) told the court that no order had been issued stopping the trial against the suspects.
In his ruling, Justice Ogembo explained that he had considered all of the arguments presented in court. He was of the view that the suspects would’t be prejudiced if they entered a plea.
” I am of the view that even if a plea is taken, the subjects will still be at liberty to pursue their applications, and if successful, this proceeding can be declared unnality at any stage,” the judge said. The suspects were then released on a personal bond of Ksh 200,000 by the judge.