Suspected Offenders of Kenya Post-Election Violence To Escape Prosecution
Suspected offenders of post-election violence will not be prosecuted locally for lack of evidence, a task force has concluded.
The task-force set up by Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko in April said most of the 8,869 cases reported fell below the prosecutable level and may not be pursued by the prosecutor’s office.
Of these, 5,374 suspects are still under investigation, the task-force pointed out when it gave an update on the cases under review.
A further 425 are yet to be arrested even though their identities are known. Another 125 have been withdrawn from court.
On Friday, the team chaired by Senior Deputy Public Prosecutor Dorcas Oduor said the police files did not have essential information making it difficult to pursue them.
“A cursory examination of the files shows that they are incomplete and do not containing essential information such as witness statements of complainants or investigating officers,” the task force said referring to murder investigations cases.
Where the crimes were committed was also not clearly identified therefore the magistrates given the files could not issue any orders of inquiry into the deaths.
While looking at the police files, the team categorised the cases into three: sexual and gender-based violence, murder and general offences.
Sexual offences were not properly reported too denying victims a chance to press charges against their attackers.
Ms Oduor’s team evaluated 150 sexual and gender-based violence cases and reported that they were filed long after the offences hence the inability to capture necessary evidence vital in prosecuting the offenders.
“Most complainants did not identify the perpetrators as the attacks were at night or the people were unknown to them,” the task force document states.
Injuries resulting from the attacks could not be substantially verified as there were no P3 or medical reports to back up their claims.
Additionally, those raped or subjected to other sexual abuses only remembered the month and year of their ordeals but not the exact dates.
General offences constituted more than three quarters of the total cases and included arson, theft and malicious damage. In pursuing these, the task force also found glaring gaps that had made it difficult to conclude them fast.
Vital information such as the identity of the suspects, delays in reporting case, inadequate police statements and lack of witnesses were cited.
“Some complainants saw their houses being burnt from a distance but they were unable to identify the raiders, invaders and arsonists,”
The latest findings put to question the commitment of the police to satisfactorily investigate the 2007 post-election offences. Some of the officers are also under investigation in 47 sexual offences.
Their names have been forwarded to the Mr Tobiko for further investigation and prosecution.
The task force findings puts the police on the spotlight once again as most files were incomplete, did not have investigation diaries or statements from investigating officers.
Mr Tobiko appointed the multi-agency task force on April 20 to review, re-evaluate and re-examine post election violence files. So far the team has looked at 4,408 files.
Ms Oduor said they were seeking other alternatives to help the victims who may not get redress from the courts owing to lack of adequate evidence.
“We have held discussions with the International Court of Justice, Fida-Kenya and other institutions to see ways the victims could be helped,” she said on Friday during a press conference at the National Social Security Fund building in Nairobi.
Source: Daily Nation