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Nigerian Lawyer Writes To The UN To Urgently Investigate Kenya Government Over Threats To Judges

Femi Falana

 

Human right lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana has written the United Nations through its UN high commissioner for human rights to investigate reports of attacks on judges in Kenya.

In a letter to the UN special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers Diego Garcia Sayan, on Tuesday September 26, 2017, Falana said, “I am writing to respectfully request that you use your good offices and position to urgently investigate recent reports of attack on judges in Kenya, and to make it very clear to the Kenyan authorities that your mandate will not accept intimidation, harassment or any form of attacks against judges and other actors of the justice system.

“According to reports, individual judges, particularly of the supreme court, as well as other judicial officers and staff have been attacked, threatened and negatively profiled on social media. Senior political leaders have also threatened the judiciary promising ‘to cut it down to size’ and ‘teach the judiciary a lesson’. The inspector-general of police who is expected to provide security to all government facilities has repeatedly ignored calls to act, thereby exposing judicial officers, property, and litigants to danger.”

 

Moving further, he asked the UN to “publicly condemn the attacks, intimidation and threats against judges in Kenya, and call for whoever is suspected to be responsible to be brought to justice promptly; visit Kenya on a fact-finding mission and to report back to the UN Human Rights Council on your findings and action for the council to take”, and also to “ask the Kenyan government to take measures to ensure effective protection of judges and to promote their independence, security and freedoms including throughout the hearing of the presidential election petitions”.

 

The human rights lawyer concludes that, apart from violating the rights of the judges to personal dignity and security, the attacks also constitute a threat to the independence and impartiality of the judiciary and the entire justice system.

Attacks on judges have particularly been coming from the Jubilee end who felt shortchanged in the nullification ruling. President Uhuru whose victory and celebration was cut off abruptly vowed to teach the CJ Maraga a lesson and eventually fixing the judiciary which in this context, read as installing his own regime friendly judges. What has since ensued is a character assassination of judges and court staff from fabricated allegations to endless petitions and political rhetoric. The CJ Maraga is on record saying the state was unwilling to boost security to judges whose lives remain at high risks following the onslaught and profiling. Maraga said the government will be to blame should any of the judges and families be harmed.

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