The Kenya’s Witness Protection Agency is a body corporate established under the Witness Protection Act, (Cap 79 Laws of Kenya) which came into operation on 1st September 2008 vide Legal Notice No. 110 of 2008 dated 19th August, 2008 as amended by the Witness Protection (Amendment) Act, No. 2 of 2010. The Regulations to facilitate the efficient and effective implementation of the Act were promulgated vide legal Notice No. 99 of 2011 which came into force on 5th August 2011.
The object and purpose of the Agency is to provide the framework and procedures for giving 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 prosecution and other law enforcement agencies as stated in Section 3B of the Witness Protection Act, 2006.
The functions of the Agency in terms of Section 3C of the Witness Protection Act are to:-
- Establish and maintain a witness protection programme;
- Determine the criteria for admission to and removal from the witness protection programme;
- Determine the type of protection measures to be applied;
- Advise a government ministry, department, agency or any other person on adoption of strategies and measures on witness protection; and
- Perform such functions as may be necessary for the better carrying out of the purpose of this
Our stakeholders are Government departments, agencies and ministries including:
i) Office the Attorney General and Department of Justice
The Agency works closely with the Office the Attorney General and Department of Justice to protect the rule of law and promote human rights. The Attorney General is the Chairperson of the Witness Protection Advisory Board that provides oversight to the Agency.
Parliament plays a key role in ensuring that all legislation pertaining to witness protection is discussed and passed before it’s ascended to by the Head of State into law.
iii) The Judiciary
The Judiciary is a key stakeholder with the Agency in helping deliver justice in line with the constitution. The Agency collaborates with the Judiciary through the judicial Training Institute (JTI) in offering witness protection and security related programmes.
iv) National Treasury
Realization of the Witness Protection Programme (WPP) is fully sustained through funding from the National Treasury. This ensures that all financial activities of the Agency are undertaken in line with guidelines set by Treasury.
v) Kenya National Commission on Human Rights
The Agency works in collaboration with the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) to propagate a strong and vibrant human rights culture founded on equality and social justice for all. This ensure that Kenya becomes a state governed by laws, policies, practices and values anchored on international human rights standards and expectations. The ultimate goal is to increase respect for and greater enjoyment of fundamental human rights. The chairperson of KNCHR is also a board member of the Witness Protection Advisory Board.
vi) National Gender and Equality Commission
The National Gender and Equality Commission (NGEC) acts as the principal organ of the state in ensuring compliance with all treaties and conventions ratified in all national and county policies, laws, and administrative regulations in all public and private institutions. It monitors, facilitates and advices on the integration of the principles of equality and freedom from discrimination.
vii) National Intelligence Services
The NIS is charged with identifying conditions that threaten Kenya’s social, economic and political stability. It develops techniques and strategies to neutralize such threats. The NIS Director General also sits in the Board of the Witness Protection Agency.
viii) National Police Service
Provides professional and people centred police service through community partnership and upholding rule of law for a safe and secure society. The Police provide a key focal point in recording statements and providing security. The Inspector General of National Police Service is the Vice-Chairperson of the Witness Protection Agency Board.
ix) Kenya Prison Service
The key mandate of Kenya Prison Service is to contain and keep offenders in safe custody, rehabilitate and reform offenders. The service also facilitates the administration of justice and promote prisoners opportunities for social re-integration. The Commissioner of Prisons is also a member of the Witness Protection Agency Board.
x) Commission on Administrative Justice
It is also known as the Office of the Ombudsman which is charged with the mandate of enforcing administrative justice and promotion of constitutional values. This is accomplished through effective complaints handling and dispute resolution.
xi) Department of Children Services
The Department caters for the welfare of children and protects them from all forms of violation that touch on their rights.
xii) Kenya Law Reform Commission
The commission facilitates law reform conducive to social, economic and political development. The core function is to review laws of Kenya and ensure their unification and codification.
xiii) Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
The mandate of ODPP as derived from Article 157 of the Constitution is to institute and undertake prosecution of criminal proceedings against any person before court. ODPP refers most witnesses that have crucial testimony but are under serious threat to Witness Protection Agency for protection.
xiv) National Council on the Administration of Justice
The National Council on the Administration of justice (NCAJ) co-ordinates state and non-state actors in the justice sector through a mechanism of partners to improve the administration of justice. NCAJ also co-ordinates Court Users Committees (CUCs) which are held in court stations throughout the country.
xv) Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) combats and prevents corruption and economic crime in Kenya through law enforcement, preventive measures, public education and promotion of standards and practices of integrity, ethics and anti-corruption.
1.4 Our Partners
Our partners include the following:
i) Civil Society
The Civil Society partners with the Witness Protection Agency in addressing incidences of criminal injustices. Mechanisms of seeking redress in the criminal justice system are usually employed to pursue the perpetrators of crime.
ii) Human Rights Defenders
Human rights defenders are the pillars through which violation of fundamental human rights are checked. They ensure that the rule of law and respect to constitutional obligations are obeyed.
iii) Development Partners
Development Partners are key in enhancing symbiotic partnerships and collaborations with the Witness Protection Agency. Their support to various Agency programmes ensures that the budgetary deficit from Treasury is bridged.
1.5 Our Clients
A vital witness who needs protection from threat or risk on account of his/her testimony in Court proceedings, Tribunal and / or Commission. This protection may be extended to the direct family members of the protected witness.
1.6 Client Referrals
We accept referrals from the following
- A vital and threatened witness
- Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
- Inspector – General, National Police Service or a member of the Police Force
- Kenya Prison Service
- Law Enforcement Agencies
- A legal representative or any other intermediary
- Courts, Tribunals or Commissions
- Human rights defenders
- International Courts, Tribunals or Commissions