Case raises fresh hope for victims of 2007 post-election violence
The quest for justice for victims of the 2007/2008 post-election violence has resumed in Kisumu, a decade after the skirmishes in which police were accused of shooting civilians.
The case is seeking to compel the government of Kenya to address the police shootings that were part of the 2007/2008 post-election violence in the former Rift Valley and western Kenya regions.
A group of individuals and two civil society organisations – the Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU) and Citizens Against Violence (CAVI) in 2014 filed a petition in the in the Constitutional and Human Rights Division of the High Court.
A total of 21 witnesses will take to the stand, including defence witnesses who will testify on behalf of the State while the petitioners will be depending on the remaining 17 to strengthen their case.
After a long time, there was light at the end of the tunnel after the Kisumu High Court gave them a hearing date.
Justice Esther Maina on Wednesday said that the case will be heard on May 7 and 8.
The petition has been filed against the Attorney General, the police commissioner at the time of the violence, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Independent Policing Oversight Authority, the Inspector-General of Police and former Commandant of the Administration Police.
The petitioners claim that the government failed to prevent the violence and also failed to investigate and prosecute the police perpetrators.
14 VICTIMS SEEK JUSTICE
According to the petitioners’ lawyer, Mr Martin Onyango, the 14 victims were shot between December 2007 and March 2008 in Kisumu, Akala, Mogogosiek, Eldoret, Litein, Kisumu, Migori, Ahero, and -areas.
“We will be putting the 14 on the stand alongside other three expert witnesses to tell the court what really happened,” said Mr Onyango.
He said the case took a long time to start because of procedural issues but did not say what the issues were.
Mr Onyango accused the government of failing to take appropriate measures to prevent the violence following the 2007 elections.
“The government [failed] to train police, instruct them properly during the violence, and equally turned a blind eye to the unlawful police conduct during the violence,” he said.
The 14 victims claim the police refused to mount prompt, independent, impartial, effective, and public investigations on unlawful acts by security officers.
The petitioners want the government to publicly acknowledge and apologise to the victims for their failure to protect the rights of Kenyans, to provide compensation to the victims, to investigate the shootings and prosecute those who are responsible.
“The government failed to redress the serious human rights violations committed by police during the post-election violence through compensation, restitution, medical and psycho-social services, public apologies, and other reparations to the survivors and victims’ families,” said Mr Onyango.
They also want the government to establish a special international team within the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to ensure that such investigations and prosecutions are credible and independent.