The UK Ministry of Defense stresses a golden rule for all active duty soldiers: they must remember the law in every action.
History, however, shows that the forces have violated human rights and flouted military pacts signed with different nations.
The revelation that a young woman was murdered and her body dumped in a septic tank by a British soldier in 2012 adds to the long list of atrocities allegedly committed by soldiers, particularly those attached to the unit of British Army Kenya (Batuk) training at Samburu and Nanyuki.
Soldiers have in the past been accused of carelessly leaving unexploded ordnance in unfenced fields in Samburu, killing and maiming herders and their livestock. They have also been charged with rape, murder, assault and environmental crimes.
Rights groups working around areas where Batuk units train have for years raised concerns about human rights abuses.
“The cruel death of Agnes Wanjiru is a strong indicator of the impunity with which British soldiers operate in Kenya. In 2006, they covered up rape allegations made against them by several women in Laikipia and Samburu. The British government must address all crimes committed by its soldiers,” the director of the Indigenous Movement for the Advancement of Peace and Conflict Transformation (Impact), Johnson ole Kaunga, said yesterday.
The British government was twice forced to pay millions of shillings to the inhabitants. A total of 1,300 people seriously injured or killed by the bombs qualified. The payment was made in 2003 and 2004 after a British law firm, Leigh Day, brokered the settlement.
When lawyer Martyn Leigh filed a complaint, the UK Ministry of Defense denied responsibility for the crashes that killed at least 560 people, mostly children, over the age of 50.
Later, defense officials in London agreed to settle claims without admission of liability on the grounds that he left unexploded weapons in the training areas, but for the simple fact that he used the unexploded grounds. closed.
In 2003, 230 people received 450 million shillings for losing loved ones or sustaining injuries resulting in disability.
In 2013 Amnesty International (AI) and Impact said at least 650 women had been raped by British soldiers over 35 years (1965-2001) at Dol Dol and Archer’s Post and that there had been a conspiracy by the silence from the British and Kenyan authorities.
“Despite numerous complaints, Kenya and the UK have failed to take effective action: to investigate these allegations, bring the alleged perpetrators to justice, ensure adequate redress for victims and prevent further attacks,” AI said. .
The Samburu women who claimed to have been raped and even pregnant by the soldiers, however, never received any compensation. They may never receive any, following the passage of the UK Overseas Operations (Military Personnel and Veterans) Act 2021, which came into force in April.
The law, which came into force in April, introduces a limitation period – five years – beyond which no prosecution is possible.
On July 27, Defense Secretary Monica Juma and her British counterpart Ben Wallace signed the new Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) in London.
It contains details on jurisdiction, environmental and civil protection, importation of ammunition, conduct of forces from visiting nations regarding the sexual exploitation of women, and dispute resolution, among others. Yet the soldiers remain unpunished for the crimes they committed. Some cases are pending at the Nanyuki courthouse.
The soldiers were accused of starting a fire that destroyed approximately 12,000 acres of land at the Lolidiaga Conservancy. “Two months in Kenya later and we only have eight days left. I’ve been good, I’ve caused a fire, killed an elephant and feel terrible about it, but hey, when in Rome,” a British soldier wrote in a Snapchat post, angering defenders of the environment.
Under the DCA, the UK invests 1.165 billion shillings a year and trains around 1,100 Kenya Defense Force soldiers who are preparing for deployment to Somalia.
DCA states visiting forces must avoid acts that impact human health and safety, prohibits sexual exploitation of children, details weapons waste disposal and procedures to be followed before training military involving live fire in designated training areas.
Rules of engagement have been similar to previous DCAs, but the prosecution rate of British soldiers in Kenya remains very low. Regarding the Wanjiku case, British High Commissioner Jane Marriott said the UK would cooperate with investigators.
“In 2012, the UK’s Special Investigation Branch carried out initial investigations in Kenya, including providing information on UK personnel to Kenyan police. No other requests were received at this time. Following the conclusion of a Kenyan investigation in 2019, we understand that Kenyan authorities are investigating the murder. We will support this investigation by the Kenyan police,” his statement read in part.
Mr Day said yesterday his company was looking into the matter. “The company was only recently contacted about this. We do not know at this stage how far investigations have progressed in Kenya, but we are looking at what options may be open to the family in the UK in the future,” he told the Nation.