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March 5, 2009


In Nairobi of

Oscar Kamau Kingara


Lawyer and Chairman of Oscar Foundation Free Legal Aid Clinic Kenya (OFFLACK).


Source : FRONTLINE      



On March 5, 2009, at 7.30 pm, while Oscar Kamau King’ara and John Paul Oulua  were  driving in a white Mercedes in rush-hour traffic towards the office of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, their vehicle was blocked by two vehicles – a minibus and a pajero full of men, which had been trailing them, on Mamlaka road, outside Hall 11. Three gunmen in dark suits fired repeatedly into the car.   Mr. King’ara was shot four times on the head and Mr. Oulu three times. The two men then jumped into their car and sped off towards the city centre.Mr Kingara was killed outright and Mr Oulu mortally wounded. Witnesses said the killers sped away in two cars.


According to eyewitnesses, the driver of a minibus would have been in police uniform. An eyewitness at the scene was also shot in the leg and was later taken away from the scene by policemen. While the nearest police station is located 1 km away, the central police did not arrive at the scene until more than three hours after the assault.


OFFLACK has been a major source of information to Parliament on atrocities playing out against the poor in the country. Hours before the attack a government spokesman had berated Mr Kingara publically for allegedly helping the outlawed Mungiki criminal sect. Mr Kingara’s death immediately raised suspicions that the police and State were responsible.   In 2008, OFFLACK released a report on extra judicial executions in Kenya entitled “The veil of impunity – who is guilty?”. On February 18, 2009, before Parliament debated the motion on extrajudicial killings, he presented Oscar Foundation’s findings on ongoing extra judicial killings to Hon. Peter Mwathi, the motion’s mover. Their last engagement with Parliament was a presentation to the Kioni Committee investigating organized gangs, a few days before the assassination. Messrs. King’ara and Oulu had also met UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Killings Philip Alston last month.

In November 2007, OFFLACK reported that in the five years up to August, 2007, Kenyan police had killed over 8,000 people in crackdowns against the Mungiki sect [1], with further 4,000 people still missing. Meanwhile, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights linked the police to the execution of 500 Mungiki over the previous five months. The police had described the reports as fictitious.

One day before, at his weekly briefing, the Government Spokesman, Dr. Alfred Mutua made public allegations according to which OFFLACK was a civil society front for Mungiki , and “[they were] going to deal with it”.

The Observatory fears that both human rights defenders were killed because of the sensitive information they had shared with both Prof. Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on summary and extrajudicial killings and with Kenyan MPs. The Observatory also condemns the statement made by the Government spokesman, which, in the context of the so-called “war on Mungiki”, may be interpreted as a blank cheque for targeting people justly or unjustly related to them and urges the Kenyan authorities to support publicly the legitimacy and the necessity of the work carried out by human rights defenders.

Finally the Observatory urges the Kenyan authorities to ensure that these assassinations do not remain unpunished and order a thorough and impartial investigation into the assassinations.






President Mwai Kibaki, Office of the President, Harambee House, Harambee Avenue, PO Box 30510, Nairobi, Kenya


Your Excellency,

I am deeply saddened following reports that human rights defenders Mr Oscar Kamau King'ara and Mr John Paul Oulu “GPO” were murdered on 5 March 2009. Oscar Kamau King'ara was a lawyer, founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Oscar Foundation. John Paul Oulu “GPO” worked for the Oscar Foundation as Communications and Advocacy Officer.

The Oscar Foundation is a registered charity which offers free legal services to poor people in Kenya. It has carried out research on police brutality in urban areas of Kenya, as well as corruption in the police force and in prisons.

On 18 February 2009, the Oscar Foundation presented its findings on ongoing extrajudicial killings in Kenya to Hon. Peter Mwathi of the Ministry of Education for use in a parliamentary debate. The organisation also provided information for Prof. Philip Alston, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions in the context of his fact-finding mission to Kenya in February 2009.

Furthermore, the Oscar Foundation has presented a report on extrajudicial killings, entitled “The Killing Fields”, to the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) and a report on organised gangs to the Kioni Committee of the Kenyan Paliament.

On 5 March 2009, Oscar Kamau King'ara and John Paul Oulu “GPO” were shot to death on Mamlaka Road outside Hall 11 in Nairobi. Their vehicle was blocked by a minibus and a Mitsubishi Pajero vehicle, both of which had been following them. Several men were in the two vehicles blocking the way of Oscar Kamau King'ara and John Paul Oulu “GPO”. Two men got out, approached the vehicle of Oscar Kamau King'ara and John Paul Oulu “GPO”, and shot them both through the windows from close range. Police from the Central Police Station did not arrive at the scene of the crime until more than three hours after the incident, although the station is situated only 1 km away.

Oscar Kamau King'ara and John Paul Oulu “GPO” had been on their way to the KNCHR office for a meeting with Mr Kamanda Mucheke, a senior human rights officer with KNCHR, concerning how to formally respond to accusations made by Government Spokesman, Dr Alfred Mutua, that the Oscar Foundation was funding Mungiki, a political and religious group.

According to eyewitnesses, the driver of the minibus was in police uniform whilst the other men were wearing suits. The closest eyewitness to the incident was shot in the leg and later taken away by policemen. Representatives of the Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice coalition are currently attempting to verify his whereabouts given that he may be able to aid investigations into the murder by identifying the perpetrators of the crime as well as the vehicles in which they were travelling.

I believe that Oscar Kamau King'are and John Paul Oulu “GPO” were murdered because of their legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of human rights, in particular their work to denounce extrajudicial executions in Kenya. I am deeply concerned that this forms part of an ongoing pattern of extrajudicial executions in Kenya.

I urge the authorities in Kenya to:

1.Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the killing of Oscar Kamau King'are and John Paul Oulu “GPO”, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;

2.Ascertain the location of the eyewitness of the murder who was shot in the leg, and adopt protective measures to guarantee his physical and psychological security and integrity;

3.Ensure that all human rights defenders in Kenya, carrying out their legitimate work in the defence of human rights, are able to operate free of restrictions and reprisals.

Yours sincerely,

Actions required:

Please write to the Kenyan authorities, urging them to:

i.Take all necessary measures to guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of all members of OFFLACK, as well as of all human rights defenders in Kenya;

ii.Order a thorough and impartial investigation into Messrs. Oscar Kamau King’ara and John Paul Oulua’s assassination in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before a civil competent and impartial tribunal and apply to them the penal sanctions provided by the law;

iii. Guarantee that adequate reparation is provided to Messrs. Oscar Kamau King’ara and John Paul Oulua’s families;

iv.Put an end to any act of harassment against all human rights defenders in Kenya;

v.Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly on December 9, 1998, especially its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, as well as its Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

vi.More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Kenya.


* Hon. Mwai Kibaki, The President, Republic of Kenya, P.O. Box 30050 00100 - Harambee Avenue Nairobi, Kenya, Fax: +254-020-243620, Email: * Right Hon. Raila Odinga, Prime Minister, Republic of Kenya, P.O. Box 30050 00100, Nairobi, Kenya, Email: * Hon. George Saitoti, Minister for Internal Security, Harambee Avenue, P.O. Box 30510, Nairobi 00200, Kenya, Tel: +254-020-227411 * Major General Hussein Ali, Commissioner of Police, Kenya Police Headquarters, Vigilance House, Harambee Avenue, P.O. Box 30083, Nairobi, Kenya, Tel: +254-020-341411/6/8, Email:, * Hon S. Amos Wako, Attorney General, State Law Office, Harambee Avenue, P.0. Box 40112, Nairobi, Kenya, Tel.: +254-020-227461 * Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Mrs. Jaoko e-mail * Hon. Martha W. Karua, E.G.H., M.P., Ministry of Justice, Haile Selassie Avenue, * P.O. Box 56057, Nairobi, Kenya, Tel.: 254-20-224029, Email: * Permanent Mission of Kenya to the United Nations in Geneva, Av. de la Paix 1-3, 1202 Genève, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 731 29 05, E-mail: * Embassy of Kenya in Brussels, 208 av. W. Churchill, 1180 Uccle, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 340 10 50 / + 32 2 340 10 68. Email:

Please also write to the embassies of Kenya in your respective countries.




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