DPP Haji: forceful disappearance, killings hurting criminal justice system

Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji now says the forceful disappearance of suspects only for their bodies to be discovered in mortuaries has tarnished the criminal justice system.

Haji said the recent report on killings and dumping of bodies in River Yala has eroded public confidence in the security department.

Haji spoke during the annual National Conference on criminal justice reforms at Great Rift Valley Lodge in Naivasha organized by the National Council on the Administration of Justice (NCAJ).

He said accusations of torture, forceful disappearance and arbitrary detention are worrying incidents, noting that they had bred great distrust in criminal justice actors from the public.

“This perception undermines the rule of law and the River Yala situation is evidence of a criminal justice system that is critically violating the rights of the accused,” he said.

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The DPP expressed his concern over violation of rights through the use of excessive force, torture, arrests and detentions without reasonable cause and interference with one’s private life.

“Prosecutors play an important role in ensuring that everyone has the right to a fair trial and insufficient or arbitrarily acquired evidence will not be used to prefer charges,” he said.

He hit out at investigation officers for altering or presenting evidence that had been acquired through improper procedural processes.

Interior CS Fred Matiang’i said that the State had implemented policies, institutional and operational reforms to boost the wellness and capacity of the police force.

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He commended the national police service for working with human rights organizations on extra judicial killings and incidents of people disappearing on allegations of police misconduct.

“The training curriculum of police officers at all levels from recruitment to training has now incorporated training on human rights,” he said.

Matiang’i added that the government had provided better housing, social programs targeting mental health awareness, medical health insurance, increased the number of police stations and recruited more police officers.

“These improvements in the welfare of police mean a police officer in good health will likely observe human rights in the line of duty,” he said.

The Chief Justice Martha Koome who was the chief guest reiterated their commitment to ongoing reforms within the criminal justice system.

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She expressed her concerns on delay in finalizing criminal cases with some going for as long as 10 years.

“In some EU countries, it takes a maximum of two years to wind up and determine a criminal case and we should borrow a leaf from this,” she said.

During the conference, she hit out at some police officers for seeking a fee from victims of gender based violence to fill in P3 forms which were declared as illegal by the High Court.

“Despite the commendable interventions that the Ministries of Health and the practice of charging victims to have the form filled remains rampant across the country,” she said.


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