Launch of Joint UNODC and DPP Report: Towards Professionalized Prosecution Services in Kenya
Kenya suffers from a critical shortage of prosecutors. In 2010, 92,802 criminal cases were tried in Kenya. With 353 courts nationwide and a case load estimated at about 300 per prosecutors, it is improbable that a prosecutor can properly prepare for a vigorously defended case. If not addressed, this shortfall is likely to increase with creation of new courts to bring judicial services closer to the counties that have been created by Kenya's new constitution.
As part of its deep commitment to assisting the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, UNODC has been working closely with the Offices of the Attorney General and the Direc tor of Public Prosecutions in order to address the urgent issues confronting the DPP's office. Last year UNODC, in cooperation with Offices of the Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecutions carried out a comprehensive survey across the Kenyan prosecution system which revealed:
- Police prosecutors undergo a short training course which does not equip them with the skills to handle the changing criminal environment.
- Police do not enjoy prosecutorial independence
- Lack of Professional Ethics by the police prosecutors
- Lack of authority to incur expenditure by the Officer in Charge of Prosecutions
- Lack of witness consultation rooms
- Promotions and general career prospects of prosecutors are very poor.
These issues were also emphasized by Attorney General Amos Wako who said, " The pressure on prosecutorial services will be further exacerbated as the move towards phasing out police prosecutors and recruiting professional lawyers to undertake prosecutions at all levels of the judiciary gains momentum. The increasing sophistication in the kinds of offences, their pervasiveness and the manner of execution calls for more well trained and specialized personnel".
The need to professionalize the prosecution services has been made even more urgent by Kenya's new constitution which establishes an Independent Directorate of Public Prosecutions. Ms. Loide Lungameni, UNODC Regional Office for Eastern Africa (ROEA) Representative pledged that UNODC will continue to do its part in offering technical assistance to the Government in various areas.
" UNODC recognizes that the most urgent priority to be addressed lies in the establishment of an independent Directorate of Public Prosecutions," Ms Lungameni said... "In this respect, UNODC is leading the process for the development of an appropriate organizational structure of the new prosecution service, including: recommendations for suitable staffing, qualifications and terms and conditions of service; development of modalities for professionalizing the prosecution service; and development of a comprehensive training programme for newly recruited prosecutors".
On 25 and 26 March 2011, the UNODC Regional Office for Eastern Africa (ROEA), in cooperation with the Office of the Attorney General and Directorate of Public Prosecutions, held a validation workshop at Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) in Nairobi, to launch the report. The purpose of the workshop was to examine the survey report and agree how to make implementations in accordance with the report's findings.
UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov also stressed the importance of this issue during a press conference in Nairobi on March 28.
Recommendations from the workshop will be forwarded to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions for consideration and possible implementation.