News 2008

 

DNA tests to help net rapists



Daily Nation

Story by SAM KIPLAGAT

13.02. 2008



Some 100 DNA samples have been collected from rape victims of the post-election violence to help net the suspects.

A Nairobi-based forensic company said that the samples had been forwarded to an Australian company for analysis.

Mr Kinyanjui Murigi of Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) said Tuesday that DNA Solutions Pty of Australia will do the analysis.

The samples, collected from victims at the Nairobi Women’s Hospital during the six weeks of violence, will also help curb the vice.

He said that an estimated 1,200 women and children were raped during the post-election violence and many of them being victims of gang-rape.

Curb rape cases

The crime expert said that CSI and DNA Solutions East Africa had partnered with the Nairobi Women’s Hospital to curb rape cases in the country.

Nearly 1,000 people have been killed in the violence which erupted after President Kibaki was declared winner of the December 27 presidential election. The opposition Orange Democratic Movement disputed the result, saying the election had been rigged. Thousands of people have been maimed and more than 300,000 uprooted from their homes.

Most observers including those from the United States, European Union, East African Community and locals said the tallying of the presidential vote was flawed.

On Tuesday, Mr Murigi said that the DNA analysis would be conducted for the next two to three months after which the profiles of the suspects would have been known.

“It will take a bit long because the samples collected were not up to the standards required and another reason being that most were victims of gang rape. But after that, we will be able to narrow in on individuals with the help of police,” he said.

The service, he said, was being conducted for free but the sponsor, the world’s leading and largest private forensic facilities DNA Solutions Pty (Australia) and Bode Technologies Group (USA) will incur about Sh170 million for the exercise.

Mr Murigi said to analyse and profile DNA from a sexual assault victim costs between Sh350,000 and Sh900,000. He cautioned that even where a condom is used, what is known as Trace Evidence is collected and analysed for DNA and it is about 90 per cent successful.

“The ability of DNA testing to hold individuals accountable for their actions has been widely demonstrated in other nations.

Joint efforts

However, our joint efforts in Kenya represents the first time DNA testing will be used to address the accountability issue during a period of active unrest. By holding individuals accountable for their actions not only are past crimes and violence addressed, but also future violence could be deterred. This deterrent affect can thus help reduce future violence and in doing so help support and maintain stability,” he said.

Mr Murigi said that due to the complexity of these sexual offences, high tech software will be used to identify and eliminate suspects of these Mass Rape Incidences (MRIs). The said software includes the ViCLAS (Violent Crime Linkage Analysis System) and CODIS (Combined DNA Index System), which according to him, have never been used in Africa before.

 

 

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