On October 28, 2022, PJI welcomed the announcement of charges in the matter of systematic police attacks on civilians in Kisumu County, including the widely decried murder of Samantha Pendo “Baby Pendo” with prosecution set to proceed in Kenya.

The Baby Pendo case marks the first crimes against humanity case to be brought in the Kenyan national courts. It is also the first such case alleging crimes committed in the context of post-election violence under a theory of command responsibility, a form of legal responsibility being applied in this case under the Kenyan 2008 International Crimes Act. 

For the past two years, PJI has accompanied a remarkable team of Kenyan senior level Prosecutors in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions’ (ODPP’s) Civil and Human Rights Division (CHRD), and a talented team of investigators from the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA). PJI provided technical expertise in investigation of serious human rights violations believed to be committed by Kenyan police during the Post-Election Violence (PEV) period of 2017. We look forward to continuing to work alongside our colleagues as the case moves forward toward trial.

The “Baby Pendo” case alleges that in the days following the announcement of the presidential election results in August 2017, police killed a 6-month-old baby, Samantha Pendo, who was at home in the arms of her mother at the time. This case has received widespread attention in Kenya and beyond, with civil society and victim organisations calling for justice.  An inquest resulted in a judgement calling upon the ODPP to investigate and prosecute police superiors under the theory of command responsibility.  The ODPP requested PJI’s assistance in preparing this case, and following two years of technical partnership, the case has finally proceeded to prosecution.  The indictment alleges Samantha Pendo’s killing was part of a systematic and widespread attack on civilians living in Nyalenda, Nyamasaria, Kondele, and Obunga, all of Kisumu County, which the Pendo family called home.

This work was made possible in part by support from UN OHCHR and UN Women.

Read the Announcement of the Office of the Department of Public Prosecution.

Hear Max and Kathy discuss this important development in a Justice Update.