Amnesty International Kenya, International Justice Mission Kenya, Haki Africa, and the Kituo cha Sheria have filed a petition asking for monetary compensation for five victims of brutality as police enforced a COVID-19 curfew.
The plaintiffs accuse the Kenyan government of failing to uphold its mandate while enforcing curfew leading to loss of lives, injuries, and looting of businesses.
The petition included demands for long-term legislative reform aimed at addressing cases of alleged police brutality in the country.
Annette Mbogoh, executive director of Kituo cha Sheria, also known as the Legal Advice Center, explained the decision to sue the government.
“Within the pandemic is when government responsibility towards its people should be even higher than when things are just as normal,” she said.
“During this time, there was a much higher responsibility of the police to ensure that they protect as opposed to meting [out] violence against the citizenry, so we feel the issues brought in this petition are unique in that respect.”
The inspector general of police, the minister in charge of security, and the Attorney General are all named as defendants.
The human rights groups seek about 500,000 Kenyan shillings ($4,600; £3,600) in compensation for the five victims.
Among those represented by the rights groups is 13-year-old Yassin Moyo who was shot dead at his parent’s balcony as police enforced the night-time curfew.
One police officer was charged with the murder of Yassin and is out on bail.