The Bar Council and Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales have today sent a joint letter to the Kenyan High Commissioner to the UK, urging him to take action to protect legal practitioners following the murder of Kenyan lawyer Willie Kimani.
Kimani was kidnapped, tortured and killed in June, alongside his colleague Josphat Mwenda and driver Joseph Muiruri. Media reports suggest that the murders may have been linked to Kimani’s attempts to prosecute the police over alleged brutality and extrajudicial killings.
In their letter, the Bar Council and Bar Human Rights Committee highlight the crucial role played by legal practitioners in securing fundamental rights for the whole of Kenyan society, and in protecting the rule of law. They call on the Kenyan government to do everything they can to ensure that legal practitioners are able to continue their work without fear of violence.
Commenting on the letter, Kirsty Brimelow QC said:
“The murder of Willie Kimani is a shocking and horrific act, which highlights the dangers faced by Kenyan lawyers, especially those who challenge human rights abuses.
The Kenyan government’s expressed commitment to international law means that lawyers must be properly protected against reprisals.
We call on the Kenyan government to fulfil its legal protective obligations to its citizens, and act to prevent these murders which clearly are targeted against a vulnerable group”
(Image credit: IJM)