Determinants of children’s rights violations in Prosecution: a case of Nairobi city county, Kenya
Mudeizi, Hasna Mbone
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Kenya’s criminal justice system empowers the office of Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to prosecute all criminal cases including those that are related to violation and abuse of children’s rights. Article 53 of The Constitution of Kenya 2010 read together with the Children’s Act 2001 Laws of Kenya guarantees all children in the Republic of Kenya protection of their fundamental rights. The best interest of the child is understood to be paramount in all cases relating to violation of children’s rights in Kenya. Further, existence of policies and programs such as the Five-Year National Prevention and Response Plan on violence against children confirms efforts made so far in protecting children’s rights in Kenya. However, despite all these preventive measures in place, violations of Children’s rights in Kenya is still on a worrying trend. Effectiveness or otherwise in implementationof the Constitution,the laws, policies and programs relating to violations of children’s rights in Kenya stood out as a relevant area worth critical examination. There was need therefore to establish determinants for effective prosecution in relation to children’s rights violations in Kenya, focusing on Nairobi City County. The study specifically sought to find out if violations of Children’s rights in Nairobi City County is determined by the level of prosecutors’ competence, workload prosecutors have and depth of investigations carried out by police investigators. The study was informed by the Rational Choice and Routine Activities Theories. The study used integrated quantitative with qualitative designs. The study was conducted at the head office of DPP and Makadara Law Court. The study targeted court prosecutors and parents who are complainants of children’s rights violations. Purposive sampling was used to select 20 prosecutors and 20 parents who are complainants in Children’s rights violation cases. Data was collected using oral interviews, questionnaires and by observation of court sittings in relevant court cases. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to aid in analysis of both inferential and descriptive statistics. The study found that depth of investigations stood at (84.3%) percent in determining the outcomeof Children’s rights violationcases. Workloadassignedto prosecutorsfollowed closely at (60.8%) percent as another determinant that influenced the outcome of these cases. Competence of the prosecutors was also found to be the lowest determinant at (52%) percent. The study concludes that although all the three variables determine the outcome of prosecutions against violations of the rights of children, depth of investigations mattered most. The study recommends that there is need to motivate and support prosecutors through legal framework, so as to enhance their interest, efficiency and knowledge in prosecuting children’s rights violations cases. The number of prosecutors need to be enhanced so as to commensurate the workload assigned to them. The study also recommends that the police investigations should be enhanced so as to secure prosecution and punishment of the children’s rights violators. The study suggests that a study on prosecution of violators of rights for people with disabilities, women and other vulnerable groups should also be conducted to ascertain effectiveness of the abilitiesandefficiencyoftheprosecution.