UN chastises government over handling of extra judicial killings

by March 18th, 2019

A United Nations report on Jamaica has accused the government of not taking sufficient action to address extra-judicial killings by security forces.

The 2018 Human Rights report notes that there were numerous reports that government security forces committed arbitrary and unlawful killings in 2018.

It says the Jamaica Constabulary Force JCF, was responsible for the majority of the cases.

As of October 23, the Independent Commission of Investigations, Indecom, had received 122 reports of security force-related fatalities, that is, cases where police or joint military-police activity led to the death of a civilian.

The UN says of all the fatalities reported to Indecom, fewer than 5% led to official charges, and fewer than 2%  led to a conviction.

It says charges against members of the security forces could take years to process, citing the case of Police Constable Mark Russell, who shot and killed an unarmed teenage boy in Kingston in 2007.

The court concluded Russell had planted a police-issued rifle on the victim’s person as he lay wounded in the street to corroborate a false report.

The UN report says defense counsel used various procedural maneuvers to delay the case, with the case coming to a conclusion after more than 10 years in court.

Last September the court sentenced Russell to 24 years in prison.