A major British military inquiry into the fatal shooting of a Kenyan woman in 2002 is expected to issue its findings within days, raising the prospect of a lengthy criminal trial.
The legal team for Kenyan village chief Virginia Mwalangi Gathogo, who was fatally shot by British troops at a training camp in 2002, welcomed the announcement of the inquiry and said its clients look forward to responding to the panel’s findings.
The allegation, which is being investigated by an independent panel overseen by Chief of the General Staff Gen. Nick Carter, is that the soldiers shot Gathogo in the back as she posed no threat. Gathogo was serving in a presidential guard unit when she was shot at the Lumbija Training Camp in northern Kenya.
No soldiers have been charged over the crime. Since an independent investigation into the killing by Kenyan police in 2009 failed to result in charges, police have failed to prosecute anyone over the matter, which has sparked an outcry in Kenya.
“We note that we are not anticipating the possibility of a prosecution,” the lawyer for the family, Frank Waduma, told a news conference on Friday. “We are, however, aware that (the panel) may issue its findings.”
According to Reuters, UK’s Ministry of Defense welcomed the panel’s investigation and any final report that is sent to them, but said it would “consider all options” in response to the findings.
The MoD’s direction to the Gathogo family lawyers indicates that it is still considering “our legal position regarding potential legal action relating to (the) security operation at the Lumbija camp.”
This means that in the event that the findings of the inquiry find against the British military, the military might simply refute them, and not end the possibility of a criminal trial against the British troops. The high-profile inquiry has drawn upon testimony from soldiers who worked on the camp, those who served alongside the British and Gathogo’s family, the report added.
The UK government announced the probe after Gathogo’s family brought a lawsuit claiming her murder was unlawful.
The families received a copy of the report on Thursday, according to British news reports.
The investigation, which was launched in 2016, is expected to conclude in the coming days and a judge will then be asked to appoint a judge to further carry out further legal assessment.
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