When police are professional and have the trust of the public, they are able to provide protection to the most vulnerable people in society. But millions of the world live in fear of police who extort bribes and brutalise innocent citizens. Children are often taught to run away from police, rather than going to them for help.
In Kenya, it’s easy for a corrupt or incompetent police officer to falsely accuse and imprison, or even kill an innocent person who can’t afford to pay a bribe. Without a lawyer, the innocent person will often wait years for freedom. In the case of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearance, families have been left for years waiting for answers and the delivery of justice. Most of the time, police could expect to get away with these crimes.
However, changes are taking place as a result of the collaborative effort of IJM, our partners and local authorities to strengthen justice system and build communities where every member can expect to be safe and protected. Surviving family members have started speaking out, demanding an investigation and the delivery of justice.
In 2018, a senior police officer was convicted for the murder of a prisoner in his custody. This is the first time in history that an officer of this rank has been held accountable for murder in Kenya.