Civil society organizations under the umbrella ‘Missing Voices Coalition’ have sounded the alarm over a sharp upward trend in cases of extrajudicial murders and missing persons in the country over the last 3 years.
The civil society groups including Amnesty International and Kenya National Human Rights Commission, want extrajudicial cases pending in court to be expedited and enforced disappearance laws enacted.
In a report dubbed ‘Delayed Justice’ launched by Missing Voices, a human rights activists coalition, 219 cases of police killings and forced disappearances were documented across the country in 161 incidents reported in the year 2021.
The report revealed that 187 murders were linked to the police while 32 others were about abduction.
Four victims of the forced disappearance cases were discovered dead more than 24 hours after their disappearance from police custody, two were lucky to be alive while 30 people remain missing to date.
“We are seeing more cases of police being arrested over extrajudicial killings, the criminal justice system is slow in dispensing justice, the gap in the law has a significant bearing on the outcome of the case…,” said Kamau Ngugi, Executive Director, Defenders Coalition
Cases of police killings have been on a steady increase in the last 3 years. In 2019, missing voices documented 145 cases of police killings, and 158 cases in 2020.
Cases of ExtraJudicial Killings have gone up by 51 between 2020-2021 and 74 cases between 2021 and 2019, a trend that has human rights groups worried.
The report put Pangani Police Station on the spot as 30 cases of police killings out of 219 were documented at station in 2021. The report indicates that at least 2 cases caught on camera in 2017 and 2022 revealed police officers engaging in a shootout with civilians outside the precincts.
Some of the notable cases documented include the Willy Kimani Murder case that has remained in courts for close to 6 years.
The civil society groups are imploring the relevant authorities to enact laws on forced disappearances that should provide a clear roadmap for victims and their families who have suffered at the hands of police.