The prosecution of officers accused of involvement in enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings will help to clean up the police service, the Director of Public Prosecutions has said.
DPP Noordin Haji dismissed claims that he is targeting the police and insisted that the prosecutions were meant to weed out unprofessional officers.
“Police are doing a good job and it’s only a small percentage that is tarnishing the name of the service, and that is the group that we are dealing with. Police are not above the law and by prosecuting a few of them it does not mean all officers are misusing their powers,” he said.
The assertion comes a few days after the arraignment of nine police officers from the disbanded Special Services Unit in connection with the disappearance of Indian nationals Mohammed Said Sami and Zulfiqar Ahmed, and their Kenyan taxi driver Nicodemus Mwania.
The DPP also gave the go-ahead to prosecute 12 senior police officers for the killing of Baby Pendo and other atrocities committed during the 2017 post-election chaos in Kisumu.
Speaking in Mombasa while launching a book on best practices for justice, which was attended by Director of Criminal Investigations Amin Mohammed, human rights defenders, judges and prosecutors, the DPP said there is need to ensure justice for all regardless of status.
“There is a need to work towards a holistic approach to effectively bridge the gap between the citizens and law enforcement, thereby building trust and confidence in the fight against terrorism,” said Mr Haji.
He congratulated Haki Africa for the launch of the manual, saying the guidelines will serve as a roadmap in the fight against terrorism.
“These good practices are a reference point for the best practices in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism,” Mr Haji said.
The DPP said the fight against terrorism and extremism is facing a number of challenges, including systemic insufficiencies such as corruption. He said the use of unregulated and concealed financing mechanisms such as cryptocurrencies has made tracing of terror financing activities harder.
Mr Mohamed said to win the fight against terrorism, there is a need to strengthen inter- and intra- agency collaboration in the prevention, investigation and prosecution of offences.
“It is important that we prioritise information sharing and multi-stakeholder investigations to ensure concerted efforts in the gathering and analysis of information collected,” he said.
Independent Policing Oversight Authority chairperson Anne Makori said the organisation will continue to hold the police accountable in the performance of their functions.
Haki Africa director Hussein Khalid urged the DPP and DCI to extend their investigations to other departments such as the Kenya Wildlife Service and the Kenya Forest Service, which have also been accused of torture and other crimes against citizens.