Chief Justice David Maraga on Friday warned judges against allowing suspects to wear hoodies and sunglasses in court to cover their faces, saying it promotes impunity.
In a memo on Friday, directed to all judges, magistrates and Kadhis , the CJ said the recent trend is inacceptable.
“While exercising you individual and independent control of your courts, you must ensure that you are not seen to perpetuating impunity by allowing egregious behaviour by the suspects, particularly when such behaviour can bring disrepute to the court,” the memo read in part.
Acknowledging the right to privacy of the suspects, the CJ noted that showing of suspects face in court is crucial in administration of justice.
“The due process of the administration of justice may well be hampered if the suspects in criminal matters are not easily identifiable and connected physically to the charges they are facing, especially while taking plea,” CJ Maraga said.
Further, Maraga stated that Muslims are allowed to wear hijabs or burqas according to their religion but have always complied with the law and have never sought to conceal their identities.
The memo comes days after 38 arrested Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) employees were captured on camera hiding their faces with hoodies and sunglasses during a live court session.
The incident elicited mixed reactions online, with a section of netizens criticizing the judiciary for propagating impunity.
The suspects accused of abetting tax evasion fraud at the authority have since been released on Sh200,000 cash bail each.
Their case will be mentioned on May 27, 2019 to confirm progress of the investigations.