Chief Justice Martha Koome directs judges, magistrates to resume work on Wednesday

Martha kOOME

Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court Martha Koome.

Photo credit: File Nation Media Group

Chief Justice Martha Koome has directed judicial officers to resume work on Wednesday a day after the Kenya Magistrates and Judges Association called on its members to stay away from work until their safety was assured.

Justice Koome said in a statement that the Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome had assured her of enhanced security in all court premises and for judges and judicial officers across the country.

On Sunday, the leadership of KMJA and Kenya Judicial Staff Association (KJSA) directed its members, including judges, magistrates, kadhis, registrars, deputy registrars and judicial staff to stay away from work from June 19 to June 21, 2024, following the shooting of Makadara principal magistrate Monica Kivuti.

Ms Kivuti succumbed to gunshot wounds about 36 hours after she was shot by Chief Inspector Samson Kipchirchir Kipruto, at a makeshift court at the Makadara law courts on June 13.

The two associations had stated that they will only conduct their proceedings after ascertainment that there is provision of armed security in the courts.

Justice Koome, however, said courts across the country will remain closed on Tuesday, June 18, only, to mourn the death of Ms Kivuti, who was shot by a police officer during an open court session.

“We are committed to honouring her dedication to justice by following her example. Consequently, courts nationwide will proceed with their operations on Wednesday, 19th; Thursday, 20th; and Friday, 21st; except for Makadara Law Courts, which is under re-evaluation for security purposes,” the CJ said.

The CJ said judges, judicial officers, and staff will utilise virtual courts and secured permanent courts as needed.

“Going forward, judicial services will no longer be rendered in makeshift structures. It should be recalled that in the past, the Judiciary has repeatedly requested the Executive and Parliament for sufficient resource allocation to upgrade our court facilities to standards that would guarantee efficient and safe execution of judicial duties,” the CJ said. 

The Chief Justice said despite the assurances by the police boss, the Judiciary will continue to engage internally and with other relevant government agencies and stakeholders to comprehensively address identified security gaps.

“I am proud of and grateful to all Judges, Judicial Officers, and Staff who, despite extremely challenging circumstances, continue to deliver justice to Kenyans,” she said.

She said the Judiciary Leadership Team is implementing immediate measures and engaging robustly with other relevant state agencies and stakeholders on long-term measures to ensure the safety and security of our court premises for judges, judicial officers, judiciary staff, court users, and the general public.