Extrajudicial Killings: Have Kenyans Given Up On Getting Justice In Court?


Eastleigh has been trending on social media for all the wrong reasons. A horrible video of a man being shot on the streets in broad daylight has been doing the rounds. The shooting allegedly took place in Eastleigh and the person firing the shots is alleged to be a police officer.

Some people were complaining on social media that this is something that happens often. The police have allegedly taken matters justice into their own hands and they have been killing alleged robbers on the streets of Eastleigh.

On the other hand, there are plenty of people who supported the killings. Their reason for this is that they are tired of living in terror.  Young men have organized themselves in gangs and they have been robbing the people of Eastleigh. The responses are that of people who are frustrated and tired of living in fear.

Extrajudicial killings have become a rampant problem in Kenya. According to a report by Amnesty International, by October 2016 there had been 122 extrajudicial killings reported in Kenya. Note that these are only the reported cases many more may not have been reported. The report also ranks Kenya as the top country in Africa in cases of extrajudicial killings by police officers. You can find the report here.

Although for a lot of people this may seem like the police finally doing their job because they only kill bad people, this is not always the case. Sometimes they will kill a robber or a murderer and other times they will kill an innocent. Let us not forget the lawyer Willy Kimani, his client and their taxi driver. There is no evidence that they had done anything illegal but they were allegedly tortured and killed by police officers.

Extrajudicial killings go against our Constitution. Article 50 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 provides that every accused person has the right to a fair trial. These killings deny this right to the accused persons. The fact is that not everyone who is accused is guilty of the crime. That is why they have to be presented in court to ensure that we are certain to a certain degree that the person that is accused actually committed the crime.

Granted it is fair to argue that our courts system sometimes fails to deliver justice. Many times a person is accused and arrested and then they go to court and walk away scot free due to corruption and our courts inefficiencies. If we allow extrajudicial killings to be the norm then what would stop the police for killing a person just because they looked at them the wrong way.

The support for the extrajudicial killings is a sign that the justice system has failed Kenyans and something needs to be done. The rule of law exists to protect us all. We should be looking to reform our judicial system to ensure that once the police arrest a suspect they can be tried properly and fairly and subsequently put in jail if they are found guilty.

Featured image via www.pcij.org.

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