Kenya charges police with crimes against humanity over 2017 violence

Kenya GSU

Nairobi. In a landmark decision, Kenyan prosecutors said on Friday they would charge police officers with crimes against humanity over a deadly crackdown on post-election protests in 2017.The charges cover rape, murder and torture and include the case of a six-month-old baby girl whose death became a symbol of police brutality during the bloody election violence."This is the first case of crimes against humanity charged under Kenyan domestic law using the International Crimes Act and also the first criminal prosecution of electoral-related sexual violence," the director of public prosecutions Noordin Haji said, without disclosing the numbers of police being charged.

In this file photo taken on September 26, 2017 A protestor attempts to flee from anti-riot police in Nairobi, during a demonstration to demand the removal of officials from national election oversight body, Interim Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) allegedly implicated in manipulation of the votes tally during the August 8, presidential elections. AFP

The police crackdown following the disputed presidential election saw at least 90 people die over a four-month period, according to rights groups.The baby, Samantha Pendo, died after being beaten by police during a raid on her house as protests flared in the western city of Kisumu."The delay in this matter was caused by the complexity of the offences, investigations and vulnerability of the witnesses and victims of the offences," Haji said in a statement. A Kenyan inquest in 2019 had found five police commanders liable for Pendo's death.Extra-judicial killings are rife in Kenya, and justice is rare with few examples of police being held to account.