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Judiciary reaches out to security chiefs amid blame

By Cyrus Ombati | May 7th 2014

By Cyrus Ombati

Nairobi, Kenya: The Judiciary has started engaging other arms of government on how the current security situation should be handled.

Chief Justice Willy Mutunga had asked for a meeting between the Judiciary and the National Security Council (NSC) to discuss violent crimes, terrorism and administration of justice. However, the meeting is yet to be held.

The revelations came shortly after Deputy President William Ruto criticised magistrates and judges for releasing terror suspects on bond, thus impeding the war on terror.

However, in a letter to the Interior Principal Secretary Mutea Iringo, Chief Registrar of Judiciary Anne Amadi said the proposed meeting that is aimed at discussing the interface between national security and the administration of justice should exclude both the President and his deputy.

“The Judiciary believes that the discharge of its constitutional mandate is better served by a greater understanding of the broader social context within which it operates. This is what informs Judiciary’s constant engagements with government agencies, business, civil society and academia mostly through the mediation of the Judiciary Training Institute (JTI),” reads part of the letter dated April 28.

Amadi said it is important for judicial officers to understand the imperatives and challenges of national security and that the proposed meeting will afford the other two arms of the Government an invaluable forum to share perspectives on the critical issue in public interest.

She added the CJ had asked the JTI to convene and host the Judiciary-NSC session at a date to be mutually agreed upon and in consultation with the council, agree on the method, structure and duration of the meeting.

Suspects flee

The letter revealed the CJ has in the past held consultations with the Director General of NIS, Chief of Kenya Defence Forces and the Inspector General of Police on the issue of security and justice.

It was copied to Cabinet Secretaries for Interior, Defence, Foreign Affairs, the Commader of the Defence Force, Director General of NIS, AG Githu Muigai, the Inspector General of the Police, head of public service Joseph Kinyua and director of JTI Prof Joel Ngugi.

Ruto however called on the Judiciary to be a strong partner in the war against terror. “We call on all players in the justice, law and order sector to stand with Kenyans,” he said.

He said records indicate that many terror suspects have absconded bail and put themselves beyond the reach of law enforcement. 

Some of the suspects named are Fuad Abubakar Maswab, who is believed to have fled to Somalia while out on a Sh10 million bond and his co-accused Jermaine John Grant who had been arrested while in possession of explosives.

Ruto noted Jamal Mohamed Awadh and Suleiman Mohammed Sayyed were also out on bond and their families confirmed that they both died last Sunday while executing a bomb attack in Mombasa at the Mwembe Tayari bus stop.

“Those who have fled to Somalia intend to continue their terror activities. While they are abroad, the cases against them cannot proceed, seriously impairing the quest for justice and law enforcement,” he said.

At least 22 terrorism suspects are out on bond.

“Our collective security is a shared responsibility, thus every person must play his or her part in maintaining unwavering vigilance,” Ruto said.

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