Nairobi — Kenya’s Section of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ Kenya) has condemned the use of brutal force by the police to break protests amid calls for authorities to exercise restraint.
In a statement issued Friday, ICJ Kenya urged the National Police Service to prioritize de-escalation techniques and non-violent approaches during protests.
The Commission noted that Article 37 of the Constitution (2010) gives every person has the right, peaceably and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket, and to present petitions to public authorities.
“Individuals have the right to peacefully assemble and express their opinions without facing lethal force,” ICJ Kenya asserted.
The Commission called for an impartial investigation into nine deaths blamed on law enforcement units during protests on Wednesday.
“We firmly believe in the need for law enforcement agencies to be held accountable for any misconduct and for thorough investigations to take place when allegations of police brutality arise,” ICJ Kenya stated.
The Commission equally condemned incidents of vandalism by a section of protesters noting that such destructive actions only serve to undermine peaceful protests and legitimate concerns raised.
“We call for expeditious investigations of the persons who engaged in criminal behavior and for those persons to be presented before courts of law,” ICJ stated.
The jurists reaffirmed their commitment to stand in solidarity with people advocating for justice, adherence to the rule of law, equality, and systemic reforms.
ICJ Kenya underlined the need for everyone to feel safe, heard, and treated with dignity during protests or any other interactions with law.
The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) Friday announced an investigation on civilian deaths during opposition protests called by Azimio leader Raila Odinga amid sustained calls for accountability.
The probe, IPOA said, will look into “any death or serious injury occurring or suspected of having occurred as a result of police action.”
IPOA will also extend its investigation on possible lapses within law enforcement that may have impeded effective policing leading to destruction of property.
“The Authority is cognizant of the dictate that there are no two ways about all deaths and serious injury, either cognisable on face value or on suspicion, must be investigated,” the authority’s Chairperson Ann Makori stated.
“Secondly, the Authority is also addressing the issue of events that may have impeded effective policing,” she further noted.
Makori also affirmed the agency’s commitment to ensuring any police excesses are remedied in line with the law saying “all findings must culminate in remedial actions.”