Police: Why Post-Election Violence cases cannot be prosecuted in Kenya

A scene from the 2007/8 Post-Election Violence. PHOTO: FILE

NAIROBI: The more than 5,000 post-election violence (PEV) cases could not be prosecuted because of various reasons, police say.

The biggest challenge was that the 2007/8 PEV cases were investigated as ordinary penal offences, not as international crimes against humanity.

Police had in 2014 said some complainants were relocated to other places after the PEV clashes, and particulars in the statements cannot lead to tracing them.

Further, some offences were committed while the complainants were away, hence they cannot identify who committed the offences and some complainants did not know their attackers, and could, therefore, not identify them.

In a letter dated January 17, 2014, signed by Lillian Kiamba for the Director of Criminal Investigations, cited reasons evidence had not been forthcoming from all the 4,576 cases reviewed.

It was claimed that some complainants identified their attackers as Kalenjin community because of language, but cannot identify any particular individual.

Another challenge was that some complainants had been re-settled on their farms and they feared repercussions if they identified their neighbours as those who committed crimes against them.

The DCI claimed that some complainants had been compensated by the government and had left the areas where clashes occurred, hence they could not be traced.

"As much as we are working to carry out investigations, the current status of the 4,576 cases is not likely to change," concluded police.

But DPP Keriako Tobiko said although the police had indicated that all cases reviewed by a multi-agency taskforce formed in June 2012 were not prosecutable, the cases could still go on.

"The position taken by police does not mean cases have been closed whether as ordinary crimes or otherwise due to lack of evidence, because their files remain open for future prosecution," said Tobiko.

When the Multi-agency taskforce chaired by Deputy Director of Public Prosecution Dorcas Oduor was formed in 2012, human rights groups and other organisations were invited to forward their representatives to the taskforce but none responded.

Members of the public were also asked to bring any evidence on the cases in confidence, but there were no responses.

The files are still open and have been returned to the police for further investigations.

The task force was to re-evaluate all the cases arising from the poll chaos and make appropriate recommendations.

The taskforce was to advise, supervise and guide any investigations that were being undertaken in relation to the post-election violence, facilitate prosecution and other alternative dispute resolution mechanisms which include reconciliation, mediation, arbitration and other traditional dispute resolution strategies.