The Kenyan High Court is expected to give its judgement on Thursday on Petition 122 of 2013, which seeks to secure justice for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence during the 2007/2008 post-election violence.
The petition filed in 2014 by eight survivors of the 2007-08 PEV and civil society organisations-the Kenyan Section of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ Kenya), the Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW); the Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU) and Physicians for Human Rights (PHR).
The case was filed against the government for its failure to protect victims of SGBV during the violence, its failure to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators, and their failure to provide reparations to the victims.
“Our hope is that the judgment will offer meaningful validation and closure for the eight survivors. Their fundamental human rights should be upheld,” says Naitore Nyamu-Mathenge, PHR’s Kenya office.
She argues that the petition is an opportunity for domestic courts to address systemic violations and crimes against humanity, like the widespread sexual violence cases that occurred during the post-election period, which rise to the level of international crimes under human rights.
“The eight survivors who came forward for this case – six women and two men – have waited far too long,” says Nyamu.
In June, ICJ Kenya through a communique on ‘interrogating the prosecution of sexual and gender-based violence in Kenya’, the jurists note that the Kenyan legal and policy frameworks provide a mechanism for addressing SGBV but the operation and implementation have been inevitably plagued by challenges.
“Despite these existing legal and policy frameworks, measures undertaken by key stakeholders such as the ODPP and the Judiciary to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of SGBV cases, there are still numerous challenges such as poor investigations, inadequate care in the protection and handling of evidence, protection of witnesses in the cases and the undue delays in the hearing and determination of the cases that has hindered justice for the victims,” observed the jurists.