• The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has cautioned the Kenyan government against using the National Intelligence Service (NIS) spies to haunt and threaten judges who make unfavourable rulings against the Executive. 

    On Monday, October 25, ICJ Chairman, Kelvin Mogeni, stated that the spies were being used to frustrate judges during adjudication or after the verdict has been given. 

    Staff close to the judges were also frustrated and forced to give in to the NIS demands. 

    ICJ lamented that it had received numerous complaints from judges and magistrates who reported that they were either being followed to their homes or their phones were tapped. Other complaints included unlawful search of their premises and transfers. 

    ICJ Kenya Chairman Kelvin Mogeni (right) and Programme Manager Julie Matheka (left) address the press in Nairobi on Monday, October 25, 2021

    “This is more so when the decisions are perceived to be unfavourable to the Executive. Judicial independence is critical to maintaining the integrity of the Judiciary. Judges must feel free to fairly evaluate the matters before them based on the evidence presented and the relevant law, secure from external pressures.”

    “These allegations of interference contravene the normative frameworks and principles espoused in the international, regional, and constitutional safeguards that guarantee judicial independence and, in particular, decisional independence,” Mogeni stated. 

    On October 8, ICJ wrote to the NIS Director General, Philip Kameru, demanding an investigation into these allegations. 

    In the letter, the jurists urged him to take responsibility and also narrow down on NIS spies accused of threatening judges. 

    ICJ warned that it may seek the aid of other relevant authorities to apprehend and prosecute the spies. 

    “These persons abusing their privileged positions in public office through covert means to intimidate Judges and Judicial Officers should be prosecuted,” the ICJ chairman stated on Monday, October 25. 

    The jurists’ demands come at a time when the Executive and the Judiciary are embroiled in a row over the appointment of six judges rejected by President Uhuru Kenyatta. These are Justices George Odunga, Aggrey Muchelule, Joel Ngugi, Weldon Korir, Mombasa Chief Magistrate Evans Makori and High Court Deputy Registrar Judith Omange. 

    The High Court ordered Chief Justice, Martha Koome, to swear in the aforementioned if Uhuru fails to do so within 14 days. Attorney General, Paul Kihara Kariuki, filed a notice of appeal against the ruling, arguing that Koome would overstep Uhuru in his mandate as the Head of State. 

    Koome has not yet addressed the matter. However, in her previous speeches, she warned the Executive against disregarding court orders and disobeying the Constitution.

    The CJ also cautioned the government against the unlawful apprehension of judges and magistrates. 

    Lady Justice Martha Koome while she delivered judgments and rulings of the Court of Appeal via Skype on April 24, 2020.
    Lady Justice Martha Koome while she delivered judgments and rulings of the Court of Appeal via Skype on April 24, 2020.
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