Lawsuit Targets Police Chief Japhet Koome for 33 Fatalities in 2017

The Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome finds himself facing a legal battle as the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI), and Khelef Khalifa take legal action against him over the tragic events of the 2017 post-election police fatalities in Nairobi.

These human rights organizations have chosen to revisit the 2017 general elections, a period marked by nationwide protests following the announcement of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory by IEBC’s Wafula Chebukati.

According to these activists, the protests in Nairobi were met with excessive force, ultimately resulting in the tragic deaths of 33 individuals. At the time, Japhet Koome held the position of Nairobi Police Commander.

The petition highlights the government pathologist’s findings, which indicate that the 33 victims succumbed to gunshot wounds. Importantly, not all of these individuals were participating in protests; some were killed in their homes and businesses.

Frustratingly, the petitioners recount their attempts to obtain information on these killings from the Independence Police and Oversight Authority (IPOA), which were met with considerable delays. Astonishingly, IPOA was only actively investigating 15 of these cases.

In their legal petition, these human rights groups have expanded their scope to include IPOA and the Attorney General in their legal action. They assert that both entities were complicit in failing to adequately investigate the police-related fatalities and for dragging their feet in ongoing investigations.

The petitioners are urging all three parties to furnish them with essential documents related to the deceased individuals and the ongoing investigations. Furthermore, they argue that it is the constitutional duty of IPOA, the Attorney General, and IG Koome to thoroughly investigate, compile reports, and take action on such grave crimes.

As part of their legal request, the groups are also seeking conservatory orders from the court, directing the preservation of all pertinent documents and files as outlined in their application.

This case is scheduled for mention on September 28 and has garnered interest from several parties, including the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), and the Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU).

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