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Willy Mutunga: Form tribunal to probe extra judicial killings

NAIROBI
By CYRUS OMBATI | July 12th 2016
Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga

NAIROBI: Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga wants a "people's tribunal" established to investigate extra judicial killings.

He said there should be a continuous and consistent national debate on the root causes of past, present, and future extra judicial killings.

"Given our Constitution decrees public participation it's time the first people's tribunal (be set up) to inquire into these killings," said Mutunga on his tweeter account.

"So, after a week of countrywide demonstrations against extra judicial killings what's next?" he asked.

Mutunga was reacting to the abduction and killing of lawyer Willie Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri.

"I share the national pain over the brutal murders of our three compatriots. I salute and glorify our national outrage over the murders and our collective demand for justice for the three murdered compatriots," he said.

Meanwhile, American Bar Association (ABA) President Paulette Brown has sent a letter to the Kenyan Ambassador to the United States Njeru Githae, expressing concern over the killings of the three.

Mr Brown wants police to investigate the circumstances surrounding their deaths.

Brown's letter stated that the abduction and murder of the three constituted a serious violation of rights protected under international law and the Kenyan Constitution.

The letter also indicated that Kenya's failure to protect Mr Kimani as he engaged in the practice of law seriously weakens the rule of law in Kenya and undermines the values of any society committed to respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.

"As one of the three main actors of an independent justice system, lawyers have an essential role to play in protecting human rights, in particular due process and fair trial guarantees, and ultimately contribute greatly to ensuring respect for the rule of law and democracy," Brown said.

"When citizens of Kenya cannot assert their fundamental rights and lawyers are not secure in their professions, the rule of law, which is fundamental to a just and democratic society, is abrogated."

The ABA called on Kenya to undertake a "full, thorough and impartial investigation" into the circumstances surrounding the disappearance and deaths of Kimani and his colleagues.

It recommend that Kenya adopts proactive policies to ensure the protection of victims of alleged police misconduct and their lawyers.

With nearly 400,000 members, the association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organisations in the world.

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