News Chief Justice Martha Karambu Koome has explained how judges and magistrates can be arrested and subsequently prosecuted.
But CJ Koome made it clear that no judge should be arrested in line of duty while in their chambers or even in courtrooms.
The Chief Justice insisted that in the event that a judge is wanted for any offense, the investigating bodies should first write an official letter to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), which will then decide if they should be arrested or not.
“The same way you cannot arrest a Member of Parliament when they are about to go and debate or raid the State House, it is the same way you cannot raid the judges’ chambers to arrest a judge or a magistrate,” she stated.
“They are not above the law, if somebody is infraction let somebody come and tell the Judiciary Service Commission which is in charge of disciplinary of the Judges.”
According to Koome judges are respected members and should not be dragged to police cells where they meet the same people they have prosecuted. She also claimed that their arrests interfere with judicial independence.
“This is a very heavy responsibility that falls on judges as well as magistrates,” she said.
The Judiciary has already engaged with the Ministry of Interior led by Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiang’i, and tabulated a broad procedure that will guide the arrest of judges.
“After dialogue, the JSC, the Interior Ministry CS and the Inspector General of Police have since come up with a committee to work on the guidelines. It will soon be presented to Kenyan’s when ready and they too can give their views on how they would want to see judges and magistrates dealt with if they break the law,” said CJ.
In the new procedures, Koome also granted the members of public powers to raise complaints against judges through JSC.
“They will call them and hear them out, if it shows that an offense is demonstrated then they can take action,” she noted.
The new procedures have been informed by the picking and questioning of Justices Aggrey Muchelule and Said Juma Chitembwe by detectives drawn from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.