Annual Report: Kenya 2011

Report
May 28, 2011

Annual Report: Kenya 2011

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Head of state and government: Mwai Kibaki
Death penalty: abolitionist in practice
Population: 40.9 million
Life expectancy: 55.6 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f): 112/95 per 1,000
Adult literacy: 86.5 per cent

A new Constitution was passed providing a more comprehensive basis for the protection and fulfilment of human rights. The Constitution also offered a framework for addressing much needed political, judicial and other reforms. The government introduced a number of laws aimed at giving effect to the provisions of the new Constitution. However, impunity for past and current human rights violations continued to prevail, including for crimes committed during the post-elections violence of 2007/8 and for endemic violence against women.

Background

On 4 August, a significant majority (nearly two-thirds) of voters in a public referendum voted to adopt a new Constitution. The Constitution came into effect on 27 August.

Campaigns for the referendum and the conduct of the referendum itself were relatively peaceful but there were some reports of violence. These included three grenade attacks in June at a rally opposing the proposed Constitution at Uhuru Park in Nairobi, the capital. Six people were killed and over 100 injured in the explosions and ensuing stampede. The government announced investigations into the attacks but no progress was reported by the end of 2010.

In June, three Members of Parliament and one political activist were arrested and charged over remarks that implied that certain communities would have to leave their homes if the Constitution was ratified. Their trial was pending at the end of the year.

The official anti-corruption authority filed various cases in court against high-profile public officials. Proceedings continued at the end of the year. In line with the new Constitution, a cabinet minister accused of corruption in a pending court case was suspended.

Impunity

No measures were implemented to ensure accountability for human rights violations, including possible crimes against humanity, committed in the post-election violence in 2007/8. A private members' bill seeking to establish a special tribunal to investigate and prosecute these crimes stalled in Parliament.

  • There was no progress in the investigations into the killings of Oscar Kingara and Paul Oulu, two human rights activists killed in 2009.
  • By the end of the year the killers of Francis Kainda Nyaruri, a freelance journalist murdered in 2009, had not been brought to justice.

Impunity - police and security forces

The government announced that it was finalizing three proposed laws on police reforms - the Independent Policing Oversight Authority Bill (establishing a police oversight authority), the National Police Service Bill (providing a new legal framework for policing) and the National Police Service Commission Bill (establishing a police service commission). The Bills had not been submitted to Parliament by the end of the year.

There were cases of unlawful killings and other human rights violations by the police and other security personnel. In March, eyewitnesses reported that seven men were shot dead by a group of administration police during a police operation in Kawangware, an informal settlement in Nairobi. Police officers claimed the men were part of a criminal gang, but witnesses said they were taxi drivers. The trial of seven police officers charged with the men's killings was pending in court by the end of the year.

No individual police officers or security personnel were brought to justice for unlawful killings and other human rights violations committed during the year and in the recent past.