14 February 2013

Kenya: Victims of Police Shootings Sue State for Compensation

Fifteen victims of police shootings during the 2007-08 post-election violence have sued the government for compensation.

The 15, together with four lobby groups, are accusing the government of abdicating its duty to carry out further investigations on the matter and prosecuting the officers who allegedly shot them.

They said the failure by the government to provide effective remedies to victims of the post-election violence amounts to violation of their rights.

During the violence, more than 1,100 Kenyans were killed and hundreds of thousands displaced from their homes. "Of the 1,100, at least 405 died as a result of police shootings and several others seriously injured," the victims said in their suit papers.

They believe the Attorney-General, former police boss Mohammed Hussein Ali and former AP boss Kinuthia Mbugua were forewarned to put in place adequate security measures to prevent the post-election violence.

They said the failure by the three to put in place the measures and the instructions given to police officers during post election violence are some of the main factors that contributed to the deaths of their loved ones. They apportioned blame on the authorities for failing to regulate the use of firearms.

"The use of unlawful and lethal force is unjustified and as such, the government should be held liable and compelled to compensate the victims," their lawyer told the court. They believe that the fatal shootings by the police were never investigated.

The victims who filed the case are Hellen Oyuso, Eunice Orwa, Hudson Lumwaji, Vincent Koech, Daniel Kogei, Mutai Kipng'eno, Winrose Sang and Alice Ochieng.

The others are Maurice Aluso, Walter Thabaka, Zakaria Anyanga, Tobias Odhiambo, Protus Obare, Bernard Rono and Nicholas Odhiambo.

The Citizens Against Violence, Kalenjin Youth Alliance, South Rift Human Rights and Advocacy Centre and Independent Medico-Legal Unit are the lobby groups in the case.

The AG, the Director of Public Prosecution, Independent Policing Oversight Authority, Inspector General of Police, Ali and Mbugua.

The victims want the court to issue an order declaring the failure to provide emergency medical care and access to medical services as a violation of right to life.

They also want the court to issue an order to preserve all files, reports, books, papers, letters, electronic mail and other writings and documents forming evidence which is in custody of police.

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