Ken-ya stop police unlawfully killing?

There are some stories which I read and see which simply fill me with a sense of outrage and astonishment, and this is one of them.  It’s the recent incident of the three unarmed men in Nairobi who were shot and killed by three police officers in Nairobi.

As well as the actual killings – which are themselves abhorrent – is the fact that this has been reported before, and there doesn’t appear to be any change.

I wonder if someone’s camera wasn’t pointing at the officers when they carried out this summary execution – would they have simply got away with it?  

The Guardian graphically describes how the men were forced to lie on the ground before they were executed. One eyewitness is reported to have one of the officers say ‘lie down so we can finish you’.

This revelation has sparked fury amongst many human rights authorities including Amnesty, particularly as it is reminiscent of accounts of unlawful killings by Kenya’s police which have taken place in recent years – particularly during the post-election violence of 2007 – 2008 and in March 2009, Amnesty reported on a similar incident.

CNN reports that the three police officers caught on camera have been suspended.  Sure that’s certainly a step in the right direction, but a suspension from duties should certainly not be the end of the matter.

Required is a thorough and impartial investigation into the killings, and an in-depth scrutiny of the behaviour of law enforcement authorities across Kenya. Unlawful killings by authorities are a crime under international law and a criminal offence in Kenya. Yet the rate of police officers being held to account for such offences is minimal.  The New York Times points out that these killings call for a full police reform.  Certainly – a thorough examination and review of the police authorities is necessary.

It cannot only be those who were ‘fortunate’ enough to be caught on camera who are brought to book.


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