Monday, August 23, 2010

Mill Hill statement

Statement of the General Superior of the Mill Hill Missionaries
delivered at the Celebration of the Eucharist
marking the Tenth Anniversary of Father John Kaiser’s death,
Holy Family Minor Basilica, Nairobi, 19th August 2010

Ten years ago, on 23rd August 2000, the body of a faithful priest, dedicated missionary and courageous prophet was found lying in the dust face up near his pickup some 50 miles northwest of Nairobi. His shotgun lay nearby.

Following a lengthy investigation, conducted by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America (FBI), their report concluded that the manner of Fr John Kaiser’s death was “most consistent with suicide and that no other substantive evidence reviewed supported any other conclusion” (Press Release, USA Embassy Nairobi, 19-4-2001).

To those who knew him, admired him, and loved him this conclusion was not just an insult to his integrity but a clear travesty of justice. With the support of numerous people of goodwill and various civil society organisations, the Episcopal Conference of Kenya, the Mill Hill Missionaries and Fr. Kaiser’s family insisted upon a reopening of the case and a reconsideration of the verdict of suicide.

Their demands for justice were eventually answered and an official enquiry was opened. On 1st August 2007 the Chief Magistrate, the Honourable Mrs Maureen Odero, concluded that Fr Kaiser met his death as a result of culpable homicide, and recommended that fresh and comprehensive investigations be instituted immediately by the police in order to identify those responsible.

The court rejected the original findings of the FBI report and directed the Attorney General, the Honourable Amos Wako, to initiate a homicide investigation.
However, it is distressing and disturbing to see that for the last three years there has been no evident progress in bringing to justice those responsible for Fr. Kaiser’s murder.

On 17th August last year, the Attorney General wrote to “The competent judicial authority of the United States of America” with a request for a series of enquiries to be made and assistance to be given in order to enable the investigations by the Kenya Police Officers to be carried out. To the best of our knowledge, there has been no response to these requests and no substantive co-operation offered by the United States of America Police Authorities.

On behalf of all those who continue to seek justice for Fr Kaiser, I call upon the Government of Kenya to do all in its power to find, try and punish those responsible for Fr Kaiser’s murder. To this end, I strongly urge the Government of the United States of America to ensure that the FBI co-operate fully in these new investigations.

This is not only about justice for one good and holy man who stood in solidarity with those who were victims of injustice. It is ultimately about protecting and defending all those in our world who dare to speak the truth to those in power, the thousands of men and women who have answered God’s call to champion the rights of those who are oppressed, downtrodden and marginalised by those in authority who, for their own ends, will use any means to silence their critics.

Fr Kaiser stands tall in the ranks of all those who seek God’s justice in this world. The best way we can honour the memory of this fine priest and great missionary is to continue to press for justice to be done and indeed be seen to be done.

We will not rest in this world until justice and righteousness have found a home in this country and in our world. May God’s Kingdom come!

Rev. Anthony Chantry
General Superior
Mill Hill Missionaries

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