The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) on Tuesday said the ongoing probe into the 2007/2008 post-election violence (PEV) will only deal with cases that were never finalised.
Despite the uproar over what was perceived as revisiting the PEV cases, the DCI boss George Kinoti maintained that they were mandated to investigate all reports, especially in cases the members of public raise concerns.
“We remain true to our mandate to prevent disrupt and deter crime before it occurs. Whenever the DCI receives such complaints from a person or a group of persons regarding a threat to their security, we are duty-bound to investigate expeditiously without any favour or prejudice,” Kinoti said in a statement on Tuesday.
He said the detectives were not going to open completed cases that were investigated and closed.
“If, in the course of investigations we find that a particular case was determined by the courts, we do not re-open such a case. This is because nobody can be subjected to double jeopardy as defined in our country’s Constitution,” he said.
Any suspect who had been acquitted or convicted cannot be tried again if the alleged offence occurred at the same place and time and involved the same witnesses.
Since legal processes must be final, the double jeopardy law protects people for being tried twice for the same offence.
However, in cases where multiple criminal offenses arise from one transaction, there are certain variables that are used to determine whether double jeopardy applies.
Kinoti on Tuesday issued a clarification, saying the directorate was not intending to open old cases but was determined to continue embracing proactive crime management and to safeguard the lives and properties of all Kenyans.
“It was an acknowledgement of concerns raised by Kenyans, to ensure the public of the commitment of the DCI to investigate all reported threats to security and to sensitize the public on the need for peaceful co-existence,” the DCI boss said.
“I, therefore, wish to caution members of the public against being misled by those taking my statements out of the context alluding that DCI is revisiting PVE cases,” he added.
Kinoti said the National Police Service had recently received complaints of fear and apprehension by members of the public who felt that their lives and property were in imminent danger owing to the threats.
Some people had complained that they were being referred to as ‘outsiders’ by their neighbours purely based on their perceived political inclination and were apprehensive that they could be targeted.
Some of the cases investigated include murders, rape and land displacement with Kinoti saying subsequent action will depend on the finding of the investigations.
“We may prefer charges or we close the file with no further police action,” Kinoti said.
Kinoti said the exercise will go on without fear or favour.
“While arbitrating between conflicting parties, we give audience to all without favouritism to ensure an amicable solution is achieved. The distribution of our officers to the grassroots enables us perform this function,” he said.
In cases that will not warrant police action, Kinoti said the complainants would be advised to use alternative justice mechanisms allowed by law, like civil remedy, to address their concerns.
He added that not every complaint had a criminal element warranting arrest and prosecution.
“Besides arresting perpetrators of crime, the other major function is to inform, educate and sensitize members of the public on the observance of law and peaceful coexistence,” he said.
Those found culpable will face various charges including murder, rape, forcible detainer, among others.