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Human rights bodies push for prosecution of security agents over extra judicial killings

A group of civil society organisations and human rights defenders has called for action to be taken against security officers directly involved in extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances.

The organisations want East African states to administratively and criminally hold to account security officers implicated in summary and arbitrary killings, enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings.

This follows concerns by the groups that there has been lack of political goodwill by East African countries in enacting and/or implementing laws and policies relating to enforced disappearances and extra judicial killings.


The group has decried the high prevalence and gravity of extra-judicial, summary and arbitrary killings and enforced disappearances perpetrated by security forces, and in particular the police.

They criticized the high levels of impunity, the lack of accountability and redress and reparations for survivors of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances.

“Having consulted with victims, human rights defenders, grassroots organizations, and state agencies and understanding the grief, anguish and pain borne by families of victims of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances; call on member states to act immediately,” read in part a joint communique from the organisations.

The group includes the Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU), Haki Africa, Muslims for Human Rights, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, Amnesty International, the Legal and Human Rights Centre from Tanzania, and Foundation Human Rights Initiatives from Uganda, among others.


They also want the senior officers, under whose command junior officers commit extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances, command responsibility and accountability.

This is besides putting in place, redress and rehabilitation measures to alleviate the plight of victims through enactment and/or implementation of relevant laws and procedures such as the establishment or enhancement of existing witness protection programmes.

In addition to establishing and strengthening independent police civilian oversight bodies and also issuing a standing invitation to African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) – a working group on death penalty, extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary killings – to conduct country visits.