Along with Dr Mutuma Ruteree and Brian Kimari of the Centre for Human Rights and Policy Studies (CHRIPS), Dr Thomas Probert has recently published a study of police oversight arrangements in Kenya. It is based upon research undertaken as part of an EU-funded project implemented by a consortium of partners aimed at ensuring strengthening police oversight and investigations. In addition to CHRIPS and the Centre for Human Rights these partners are the Independent Policing Oversight Authority of Kenya (IPOA), the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF), and the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR).
The study assesses the gaps in the investigations processes undertaken by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) and identifies areas of possible intervention. It builds upon a review of existing studies into police killings in Kenya, the legal framework protecting human rights in the context of policing, as well as more technical documents of both the Kenyan police and of IPOA. Beyond these texts, the study is informed by a series of key informant interviews and a number of focus group discussions in Nairobi, Kisumu, Nakuru, Mombasa, Kwale and Garissa counties.
The study establishes that while there is a legal and institutional framework in place to guide investigations into potentially unlawful killings by the police in Kenya, there are a number of practical gaps that allow for the manipulation of the investigative process in such a way as to facilitate impunity. This means that implementation falls short of the strong rights protection in the Kenyan Constitution and the principles of international human rights law. In particular, there are provisions on the use of deadly force by law enforcement officials that fall short of the international human rights law standards.
The audio from a recent webinar discussing the content of the study, including a contribution from the Chair of the Board of IPOA, Ms Anne Makori, as well as from Dr Probert, can be found here.