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TJRC Report Volume 3

TJRC Report Volume 3

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Published by: Mwakilishi NewsMedia on May 21, 2013
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107. Although government spokespeople have referred to Okoa Maisha Operation as a
‘joint police-military operation’—a term which has encouraged both the military
and the police to attribute fault to one another—recent reports and interviews
suggest that the military was in control of the operation.

108. In investigating the logistics of the operation and the chain of command, the
Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions questioned
various Kenyan ofcials during a country visit in 2009. The Mt. Elgon District
Security Intelligence Committee (DSIC) informed him that the operation was
directed by the Western Province Provincial Police Ofcer, and that he directed
both the police and the military.135

They said that the police were responsible
for arrests and interrogations, and that the military involvement was limited to
providing vehicles to transport suspects and helping cordon areas in which the
police carried out arrests.136

109. Although the DSIC’s account, as well as that of the government, portrays the army’s
role to primarily provide security to police units conducting search operations,
witnesses and victims interviewed about the human rights abuses confrmed
that those who passed through Kapkota were arrested by men in military uniform
and transported in military trucks to Kapkota where soldiers were responsible for
beatings and interrogations. Those interviewed specifcally used the word “jeshi,”
which is the Swahili word meaning army soldier, as opposed to “askari” meaning
an armed guard.137

Victims and witnesses also described the men who arrested
them as dressed in full military fatigue, wearing the black and navy berets of
the army rather than the red berets of the GSU.138

110. The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings was also provided with credible
information from citizen informants who worked directly with the military
that members of the army were involved in abuses at the search stage of the
operation.139

An intelligence officer working with the military at the camps also
described a very different chain of command from that detailed by the Kenyan
Government in an interview with Human Rights Watch. The intelligence officer
said that while many police were present at the camp in Kapkota, they were all
dressed in military uniforms and taking orders from the military commander.
He described the military as “firmly in control” of operations at Kapkota and

135. Special Rapporteur Report (n 131 above) para 49.
136 As above.
137. Human Rights Watch (n 128 above) 41.
138 As above.
139. Special Rapporteur Report (n 131 above) para 459.

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Volume III Chapter TWO

REPORT OF THE TRUTH, JUSTICE AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION

Moses Okoit weeps as he recounts how he was tortured by security forces during Operation Okoa Maisha
in Mt. Elgon

Chepkube. He also stressed that while orders passed directly from Nairobi
to the military commander, Col. Boiwo, or the Provincial Commission, Abdul
Mwasserah, it was always the military commander that acted as the effective head
of the operation on the ground.140

Finally, the army had control over the everyday
operations of the mission as “the one in charge of combat operations, and the
principle supplier of logistics in terms of trucks, jeeps, arms, and helicopters.”141

111. In consideration of these reports and interviews, it is clear that the military
was in operational command over the purportedly “joint” mission. This chain of
command suggests that not only did the commander of the military, Col. Boiwo,
know what was taking place during the round-up in the villages and later at
the camps, but he also played an active role in allocating orders that led to the
alleged human rights abuses.

112. Requests for answers from the Kenya Defence Forces by the Commission were
never responded to.

140 As above at 41 [emphasis added].
141 Id. at 42.

75

Volume III Chapter TWO

REPORT OF THE TRUTH, JUSTICE AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION

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