EAST AFRICA CRIMINAL DEFENSE MANUAL
LEGAL TRAINING RESOURCE CENTER
One of the largest countries in the East Africa Law Society, Kenya has a common law criminal justice system inherited from British colonial rulers. Until 1967 local courts applied customary laws, but these practices were eventually outlawed. In 2010, Kenya adopted a new and progressive constitution that provided for increased rights to the accused and the convicted. One provision gave prisoners the right to vote, making Kenya one of the more progressive countries in this regard.
Rule of law continues to be a struggle in Kenya, where the country was ranked 147th out of 180 countries by the Transparency International Index.
Kenyan citizens have no right to counsel unless they are charged with a capital offense.
Kenya has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Type of System
Sources of Defendants' Rights
- 43.4% of prisoners in Kenya are pre-trial detainees.
- Prisons in Kenya are currently at 223.3 percent capacity.
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