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The East African : April 21st 2014
The EastAfrican OUTLOOK APRIL 19-25,2014 31 Kenya justice system in di≥e need of funds By TREVOR ANALO The EastAfrican AMID RISING security threats, Kenya’s criminal justice system continues to be too “under-funded, under-staffed, and ill-trained” to measure up to the increasing sophistication of criminals and terrorists. In his address to an an- nual convention of Kenyan prosecutors, Chief Justice Willy Mutunga on Tuesday said the criminal justice system lacks the expertise and financial support to administer justice fairly and efficiently. “Without the requisite Camp Lemonnier, the US military base in Djibouti. Picture: File US military presence growing in Djibouti, other Africans sites G≥eate≥ ≥esou≥ces a≥e being made available as the US ≥edeploys milita≥y assets f≥om Afghanistan to Af≥ica By KEVIN J KELLEY Special Correspondent T he recent announcement of a planned White House meeting between US President Barack Obama and Djibouti’s leader highlights the considerable importance to the US military of the small nation bordering Somalia and Eritrea. President Obama’s sched- uled May 5 talks with President Ismail Omar Guelleh, which are likely to focus in part on the US base at Camp Lemonnier, represent a rare official acknowledgment of Djibouti’s strategic significance to the US. Already the largest Pentagon facility in Africa, Camp Lemonnier is the site of major construction projects that could total $750 million. The buildup reflects Wash- ington’s growing concerns about Islamist insurgencies in East Africa. Greater resources are also being made available to the Djibouti operations as the US redeploys military assets from Afghanistan to Africa. “Our presence here in Dji- bouti is enduring and I think it is growing,” US Air Force Col Kelly Passmore, a commander at Camp Lemonnier, recently told the Pentagon newspaper Stars and Stripes. “As DOD [the Department of Defence] has capacity that is freed up from our transition out of Afghanistan, it gives us forces that are able to now focus on this region.” Overall, the portion of Camp Lemonnier used by the US has grown from about 85 acres in 2002 to 500 acres today. The US pays the government of Djibouti $38 million a year to lease Camp Lemonnier. The former French Foreign Legion base has been home for the past 12 years to a US military unit known as the Combined Joint Task Force/ Horn of Africa. About 3,000 US personnel conduct air, sea and land surveillance operations throughout East Africa and parts of the Arabian peninsula from Camp Lemonnier. A rapid-response force is also headquartered at the camp. The US Africa Command (Africom) also makes use of the base in Djibouti. Up to 6,000 troops are available to Africom, its commander, Army Gen David Rodriguez, said recently. Since its inception a few years after Al Qaeda’s attacks on New York and Washington, Africom has sought to keep a low profile and to depict its mission as mainly a partnership with various African militaries. The announcement of Af- ricom’s establishment drew a negative response from many governments, who worried about the prospects of US militarisation of Africa. Initial efforts by the command to locate its headquarters on the continent were terminated as it became clear that almost no African nation was willing to host a large-scale US military base. Camp Lemonnier has come to function as an African complement to Africom headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. But Djibouti’s location makes the camp a convenient location only for operations in East Africa, so the Pentagon has quietly been establishing much smaller bases in several locations near conflict zones in other parts of the continent. Today, the US has a mili- tary presence in more than half-a-dozen African countries in addition to Djibouti. Kenya is included in that network. Air-support facilities have The US pays Djibouti $38 million a year to lease Camp Lemonnier. been constructed at Manda Bay in Lamu, Kenya to accommodate US cargo planes that ferry African Union troops and equipment, along with numbers of US personnel, to Somalia. Kenyan maritime forces that play support- FIGHTING LRA Combat aircraft that can take off and land like helicopters and fly like planes have been sent to Uganda to intensify the hunt for Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony, who is believed to be moving between the Central African Republic, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Some 150 US Air Force Special Operations personnel have also been ordered to join the 100 or so combat advisors who were dispatched to Uganda more than two years ago. ive roles in combating piracy and Al Shabaab insurgents are also trained in a facility at Manda Bay known as Camp Simba. The US operates drone bases in both Ethiopia and the Seychelles as well as in Djibouti. A post making use of the same surveillance resources has also been established in Niger in West Africa. Elsewhere in that sub-region, a US Joint Special Operations Air Detachment carries out counterinsurgency initiatives from a base in Burkina Faso’s capital city, Ouagadougou. The United States has also sent troops during the past year to South Sudan, the Central African Republic and Mali. In addition, President Obama recently expanded the US military presence on the ground and in the air in Central Africa. (Left) Kenya’s Chief Justice Willy Mutunga with Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko. The country’s judicial system is under-funded. Picture: Billy Mutai financial, human and technical resources the effective co-ordination of the administration of justice is impossible,” he stated. The Chief Justice said the perennial failure of the state to adequately fund public defender services, which he called “an important cog in the wheel of justice,” affects the entire criminal justice system. “The delivery of justice is an assembly line, and every institution is chainlinked in the pursuit and attainment of justice,” said Chief Justice Mutunga. The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions faces a funding crisis and a critical shortage of prosecutors. The ODPP has a staff shortage of 50 per cent despite having operations in 41 of the 47 counties in Kenya. According to a 2010 survey, a total of 93,000 cases were tried and finalised in Kenya in that period. With 111 court stations nationwide and a case load estimated at about 300 per prosecutor, public defenders are overworked and grossly underfunded. Keriako Tobiko, who heads this key justice agency, said in the past three years, the ODPP received Ksh4.8 billion ($55 million) against a budgetary requirement of Ksh11 billion ($126 million). “The impact of this defi- cit is not confined to the overworked staff of ODPP but to the entire justice chain because it results in excessive delays in the conclusion of cases,” said the Chief Justice. This not only affects the constitutional requirement of the state to provide counsel to any criminal defendant who is unable to hire private counsel, but also perpetuates the widely held view by the Kenyan public that justice is only for the rich. The National Coun- cil on the Administration of Justice (NACJ), which chain-links all institutions involved in the control of crime and pursuit of justice, received Ksh20 million ($230,000) against a requirement of Ksh680 million ($78 million). The Probation Services Department is perhaps the worst hit by budget cuts. According to the Chief Justice, it received 62 per cent less than what was requested. It is an “impossible operational reality,” said the Chief Justice, “where probation officers were entitled to a measly $57 (Kshs5,000) a station for fuel for the entire year.” Many cases, including those involving terrorists have ended up being unresolved or in acquittals. Addressing the same gathering, Mr Tobiko highlighted outdated evidentiary and criminal procedure laws, lack of a forensics lab and inadequate collaboration within the criminal justice system. Several rights groups have accused the police of ethnic profiling of Somalis in its “operation” to flash out illegal aliens following a spate of terrorist attacks. But Mr Tobiko said the “war on terror” will continue to be fought within the confines of the Constitution.
April 14th 2014
April 28th 2014