Press Release: Robbery With Violence Petition

Nairobi, Tuesday, 30 January 2024: Katiba Institute (KI) has filed a petition challenging the continued use of laws criminalising robbery with violence and attempted robbery with violence. We did so because the laws upon which numerous convictions were based were declared unconstitutional by the High Court over five years ago. The High Court had given the Attorney-General 18 months to collaborate with Parliament and other State organs to amend these laws. Unfortunately, the State failed to take any corrective action and continued to enforce the laws as if the court’s decision had no bearing. The judgment became final and binding law in March 2018.

Due to the State’s non-compliance with the judgment, more than ten thousand people have been convicted of offences that no longer exist under Kenyan law. Victims who cooperated with the State in securing these convictions must now come to terms with the realisation that their efforts were in vain, contributing unwittingly to a constitutional violation.

Anticipating debate on this petition, some may argue that supporting it aids criminals, implying they should not enjoy the same constitutional protection as others. Contrary to this perspective, the Constitution safeguards the rights of all individuals, regardless of the nature of the alleged offence. Kenyans are urged not to overlook human rights violations simply because the victims may be considered disreputable. Instead, the focus should be on holding the State accountable for its failure to implement necessary criminal justice reforms, while also addressing the broader issue of the State’s consistent non-compliance with court judgments.

The case reference is Katiba Institute v ODPP & Others, HCCHRPET/E036/2024 filed in the Constitutional and Human Rights Division in Milimani.


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