‘You don’t have to arrest judges in commando style,’ CJ Koome tells police

‘You don’t have to arrest judges in commando style,’ CJ Koome tells police

Chief Justice Martha Koome has called for the protection of the integrity of judges accused of committing crimes during their arrest.

CJ Koome, in an interview with Citizen TV on Sunday, said police officers do not have to stage theatrics during arrests of judicial officers just to humiliate them.

She said the dramatic manner in which judges accused of various offences have been arrested in the recent past is unnecessary as they (judges) are not even flight risks.

The CJ expressed the opinion that the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) should be allowed to probe suspected errant judges before the police service is brought in.

She stated that, in spite of this, judicial officers must always strive to uphold the Constitution, and that those found culpable of committing crimes must face the full force of the law.

“No judge is above the law; if you have committed an offence that is known to the law, you must be brought to account. But how do you get brought to account? There’s the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), which I am the Chair, that deals with discipline. Is it the JSC that should be brought this information and told ‘judge so and so is involved in this and this, look at it and tell us how to proceed.’ We look at it, we invite the judge, we say ‘look at what is before us, what do you say?’ Because we have to hear you,” she stated.

“And then when we think an offence known to law is disclosed by those facts, then we tell the police ‘do what you know.’ And to do that, you don’t have to create fear and despondency by coming to raid the chambers. A judge is not running away, a judge is not a flight risk, you don’t have to arrest them in a commando style with 20 vehicles, drive them to the police station, throw them in the cells just to humiliate them.”

The CJ further added: “So when you raid the chamber of a judge when they’re writing a ruling and they’re about to go to court to deliver, what comes out of that process is that you’re interfering with the independence of that judge. Just the same way police cannot raid the chamber of a Parliamentarian who is about to go to Parliament to debate, or even go to State House and attempt to arrest the President.”

— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) September 19, 2021

“…a judge is not running away; a judge is not a flight risk. You do not have to arrest them in a commando style with twenty vehicles, drive them to the police station, throw them in the cells just to humiliate them…” – CJ Martha Koome #SundayLive pic.twitter.com/RwSxeUPyib

— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) September 19, 2021