Responding to today’s High Court ruling that Kenyan human rights lawyer Willie Kimani and two others were subject to enforced disappearance and later executed by police, Victor Odero, Amnesty International’s East Africa Campaigner said:
“The court’s determination is a watershed moment in the history of justice in Kenya as it sheds the spotlight on the common but under-reported scourge of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in the country.”
“The ruling is a fitting tribute to Willie Kimani, Josphat Mwendwa and Joseph Muiruri, as well as hundreds of other Kenyans who have been executed or disappeared at the hands of the police, and a victory for everyone who protested and demanded justice for them.”
The court also ruled that Willie Kimani should be recognised as a champion of justice.
“Willie was indeed a champion of justice. He dedicated his life to fighting extrajudicial killings, but sadly met his end through the same violations he had worked so tirelessly to eradicate. His death must not be in vain. The Kenyan government should take all measures to bring all those suspected of criminal responsibility for these crimes to justice, in fair trials. In addition, it should set up a judicial commission of inquiry into extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances to deliver justice to the numerous other victims,” said Victor Odero.
The bodies of Willie Kimani, who was employed by International Justice Mission, a Christian legal aid charity, his client Josphat Mwendwa, a motorcycle taxi rider, and Joseph Muiruri, a taxi driver, were found in a river 73 kilometres northeast of Nairobi on 30 June 2016, a week after they were last seen leaving a court room in a Mavoko, a town near Nairobi.
Amnesty International and 32 other local and international human rights organizations promptly called on the Kenyan authorities to urgently and impartially investigate their killings.