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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Judicial Officers Propose New Measures for Enhanced Court Security

The Kenya Magistrates and Judges Association (KMJA) and Kenya Judiciary Staff Association (KJSA) have expressed concerns about the safety of judicial officers in their line of duty.

The jurists emphasized the need for prudent measures to ensure the safety of judges, following the unfortunate shooting of Justice Monica Kivuti while she was presiding over a case at Nairobi’s Makadara Courts last Thursday.

Kivuti sustained gunshot wounds to the chest and pelvic area inflicted by Chief Inspector Samson Kipchirchir Kipruto, the OCS of Londiani police station. She later succumbed to her injuries at Nairobi Hospital on Friday night.

In a statement, the judicial officers pointed out that Kivuti’s case is just one of many instances where attacks in courtrooms have endangered judges’ lives.

They also urged the government to promptly address their requests to safeguard the safety of judicial officers.

“The Judiciary as an employer must strive to ensure a safe and secure workspace for all its employees, judges, magistrates, kadhis, adjudicators and staff. It needs no gainsaying that the organs of government which should be facilitating the judiciary to ensure a safe and secure workspace have failed,” read the statement in part.

Therefore, the KMJA and KJSA have recommended that effective immediately, judicial proceedings shall not take place outdoors, whether under a tent, container, or any makeshift structure.

They emphasized that court proceedings can only proceed if armed officers are provided.

“No court user shall be allowed on court premises while concealing their face, unless for verifiable medical or security reasons,” they added.

Additional recommendations include:

  • Judicial proceedings by KMJA and KJSA members shall only occur in professionally approved buildings.
  • Judges’, Magistrates’, and Kadhis’ designated private chambers shall not be used for open-court proceedings.
  • Strict adherence to security check protocols; no unrelated objects or firearms, except those authorized by the court’s security officer, shall be permitted at court stations.

Furthermore, they announced the suspension of all judicial services from June 19-24, 2024, subject to review “if circumstances dictate action.”

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