In a significant stride towards upholding human rights in Kenya, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is leading an initiative to enhance the nation’s criminal justice policies. With a focus on elevating transparency, accountability, and fairness, this initiative includes the implementation of Digitally Recorded Interviewing (DIR) techniques, backed by advanced Interviewing Techniques Training for law enforcement officers. Davidhorn, a pioneering technology provider, proudly stands as a partner in this transformative effort.

Davidhorn’s mission is to combine technological solutions with ethical interview practices to improve justice and human rights globally. This lines up with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 16: “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.” That’s why projects like training for Kenyan police officers in Digitally Recorded Suspect Interviews in Nairobi (July-August 2023) resonateed deeply with Davidhorn’s commitment to these ideals.

Under the guidance of Marion Crepet, a Human Rights lawyer employed by the UNODC, the training marked a pivotal step in reshaping Kenya’s justice system. Jeff Horn from Davidhorn delivered a comprehensive presentation that encompassed three stages to succeed with Digital Interview Recording (DIR):

  1. Planning for success
  2. Administrator Introduction to Database setup and maintenance
  3. User training and practical application of equipment.

Ten DIR devices now empower Kenyan police officers to capture interviews with witnesses and suspects, curbing the reliance on written accounts and fostering a more transparent and accountable process. Davidhorn’s technology not only ensures accurate evidence collection but also safeguards vulnerable witnesses and promotes transparency in suspect statement recordings.

Jackie Vallack, an experienced former Derbyshire officer with specialized training in Interview Techniques, spearheaded the training and course and was supported by David Ward from Focus Conservation, an NGO dedicated to combating environmental crimes. The training reached various Kenyan Police Departments, including the Serious Crime Unit, Transnational Organized Crime Unit, Kenyan Wildlife Crime Unit, Anti Human Trafficking Unit, Child Protection Unit, and Environmental Crime Unit.

Reflecting on the training, Jeff Horn of Davidhorn shared:

“Witnessing the enthusiasm of Kenyan police officers to embrace Davidhorn’s solutions was truly inspiring. The comprehensive training in advanced interviewing techniques has been engaging and promising. While the journey towards a fairer justice system in Kenya and Eastern African countries is ongoing, the officers’ positive response is a hopeful sign.”

Amidst challenges faced by Kenyan authorities in the criminal justice system, the UN’s support is paving the way for crucial improvements. Davidhorn’s technology holds immense potential to address these challenges. In particular, Kenya’s Child Justice and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) Strategies, supported by the UN, stand as a pivotal project aimed at protecting victims and creating a more inclusive justice system. By prioritizing victim-centred approaches, these strategies uphold the rights and dignity of all Kenyans, especially those vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

With approximately 60 percent of Africa’s population falling under the age of 25, the focus naturally turns to children and young adults who are particularly susceptible and exposed. Acknowledging their vulnerability, it becomes imperative to design distinct measures that guarantee their safety and well-being.

“The initiatives are in line with the strategic focus of the Judiciary to transform the justice system into a people-centred one that upholds the dignity and rights of all Kenyans, especially victims of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, child abuse and exploitation. We are in effect sending a clear message that our society will not tolerate those who prey upon the vulnerable”,[1]

said Hon.Martha Koome President of the Supreme Court of Kenya, and the first woman to occupy this position.

 

Moreover, UNODC’s collaborative efforts in wildlife protection are reshaping the fight against wildlife crime in Kenya. Recognizing the challenge of wildlife poaching, UNODC partners with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to enhance internal systems and mechanisms to prevent it. This comprehensive approach supports the entire criminal justice chain, from wildlife rangers to financial analysts, judges, and other practitioners, strengthening their capacity to prevent, investigate, prosecute, and resolve wildlife and forest crimes.

 

In closing, these initiatives collectively herald a new era for Kenya’s criminal justice system. By embracing technology, advanced training, and international collaboration, Kenya is poised to build a more transparent, accountable, and fair justice system that upholds human rights, and protects the vulnerable. Davidhorn is proud to be a part of this journey.

 

[1] https://www.unodc.org/easternafrica/en/Stories/launch-of-the-child-justice-and-sexual-and-gender-based-violence-sbgv-strategies.html

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