Human Rights Groups Sue IG Koome Over 2017 Poll Deaths

ig koome
IG Japhet Koome. [NPS]

The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI), and activist Khelef Khalifa filed a lawsuit against the Inspector-General of Police Japhet Koome over the 2017 police killings in Nairobi.

The petition is centered on the aftermath of the 2017 presidential election, during which police employed brutal and deadly force to suppress dissent, resulting in 33 fatalities in the capital.

Koome was the Nairobi Police Commander at the time.

Following the August 11, 2017 declaration of Uhuru Kenyatta as the winner of the presidential poll, protests were witnessed across Kenya, particularly in opposition strongholds.

Vote rigging

“It didn’t take long before the police responded with firearms, batons, tear gas, and water cannons, resulting in the tragic loss of dozens of Kenyan lives. Nairobi was severely hit, with a total of 33 deaths reported,” the organisations said.

As per the petition, government pathologists confirmed the deceased succumbed to gunshot wounds.

However, not all the dead were present on the streets as some were killed in their homes and businesses.

Besides Koome, the petitioners sued the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) and the Attorney-General (AG). The interested parties in the case include the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), and the Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU).

Human rights violations
Due to the human rights violations, Khalifa, on January 24, 2023, wrote to IPOA requesting information about the agency’s actions following the 2017 police killings.

IPOA delayed its response until April 12, when they replied that they were investigating only 15 cases, not all 33. However, IPOA did not disclose the status of the investigations or provide reasons for not probing the remaining 18 deaths.

Furthermore, on July 26, 2023, Khalifa wrote to Koome inquiring about the progress of the investigation into the police killings of the remaining 18 people.

Like IPOA, Koome delayed his response up to August 15. According to the petition, Koome declined to furnish details of the investigation and redirected Khalifa to seek answers from IPOA.

Due to this lack of transparency, which hampers access to justice for the victims of police killings, KHRC, MUHURI, and Khelef have initiated legal action to obtain these records from IPOA and the Inspector-General.

“Getting the investigation report into police killings is crucial for identifying and holding the officers accountable for these deaths,” they said.

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Written by KahawaTungu Reporter


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