Witness Protection Agency contributes to state of justice report

Witness Protection Agency contributes to state of justice report

The Witness Protection Agency is among 22 justice sector agencies and national committees featured in Kenya’s newest State of the Judiciary and the Administration of Justice Report (SOJAR).

Released yesterday, the SOJAR for the 2018/2019 financial year highlights the achievements, progress and challenges during the period for the Judiciary, other agencies in the justice sector and committees of the National Council on the Administration of Justice.

A vital link in the justice chain, the Agency provides special protection, on behalf of the State, to persons in possession of important information and who are facing potential risk or intimidation due to their co-operation with the prosecution and other law enforcement agencies.

During the reporting period, the Agency received a total of 271 new applications into the Witness Protection Programme (WPP) compared to 227 during the 2017/2018 period.

There was an increase in the applications closed at 165 applications compared to 127 applications closed during the previous financial year.

In total, the Agency handled 224 witnesses under the WPP and 187 related persons.

During the year under review, the Agency successfully protected 224 witnesses. Of these, 124 witnesses successfully testified and were later discharged and successfully resettled in places of safety.

The report states that the successful operation of the WPP is widely recognized as providing a unique and valuable tool in the government’s fight against major criminal conspirators and organized crime, violation of the bill of rights and non-accountability which, if left unchecked, may lead to a breakdown in the Rule of Law.

Among other progress covered in the SOJAR, the Agency reported that as a result of increased sensitization there was an increase in instances where courts, of their own volition, took appropriate measures to protect witnesses. The Agency also reported cases where courts had appointed competent persons as intermediaries to enable witnesses to give evidence.

Article 50 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 provides for the protection of witnesses and vulnerable persons in the interests of fair hearing before courts and tribunals and this forms the basis and mandate of the Agency.

The Agency provides the framework and procedures for giving special protection to such persons to ensure an effective and efficient administration of justice in Kenya.

Visit the Judiciary website to view the full SOJAR for 2018/2019.

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