2007/08 POST ELECTION VIOLENCE SEXUAL AND GENDER BASED VIOLENCE PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION CASE PROJECT

Author: covaw Category: ACCESS TO JUSTICE AND WOMENS RIGHTS , No Comments

The goal of this project is to secure redress for and provide psychosocial support and assistance to Sexual and Gender Based Violence victims and survivors of the 2007/08 Post Election Violence. The violence that was experienced in the aftermath of the 2007 general elections was indeed some of the worst violence experienced in post-independence Kenya. Kenya was riddled with carnage which, at the least, may only be described as horrific: 1,500 dead, over 3,000 innocent women raped, and an estimated 650,000 people left internally displaced.

Kenya experienced an immense cost in human lives and an enduring suffering that has [continuously] been visited upon a significant portion of the Kenyan population.

Consequently, COVAW filed a Public Interest Litigation case on 20th February 2013 seeking compensatory relief for a select constituent of SGBV victims and survivors of the 2007/08 PEV. The suit is a representative suit with the eight (8) survivors of SGBV directly participating in the suit being drawn from three (3) geographical locations: Nairobi, Kericho and Kisumu – some of the areas identified as those presenting with the most number of SGBV cases witnessed/ experienced during the 2007/08 PEV. COVAW partnered with three other human rights institutions: that is, the Kenyan Chapter of the International Commission of Jurists (“ICJ – K”), Physicians for Human Rights (”PHR) and the Independent Medico-Legal Unit (“IMLU”), and joined with the eight (8) SGBV survivors in order to file the suit .The suit is now referenced as Petition No. 122 of 2013.

The petitioners, within Petition No. 122 of 2013, claim that:

  • The government failed to properly train and prepare the police to protect civilians from sexual violence while it was occurring;
  • In the aftermath of the violence, the police refused and/or neglected to document and investigate claims of SGBV, leading to obstruction and miscarriage of justice;
  • The government denied emergency medical services to victims at the time; and,
  • The government failed to provide necessary care and compensation to address victims’ suffering and harm.

Ultimately, the petitioners want the Government of Kenya to do as follows:

  • Publicly acknowledge and apologize to the victims (the victim-petitioners and the entire SGBV victim population) for their failure to protect the rights of Kenyans during the PEV period;
  • Create a database of SGBV victims and survivors from the 2007/08 PEV who shall benefit from various forms of support and assistance;
  • Provide appropriate compensation, including psycho-social, medical, and legal assistance to the victims;
  • Investigate the sexual violence that was visited on numerous Kenyans during the PEV period and prosecute those who are responsible; and,
  • Establish a special team within the Department of Public Prosecutions to ensure that such investigations and prosecutions are credible and independent inter alia.

The respondents in the Case are the Attorney General, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Inspector General of the National Police Service, the Independent Police Oversight Authority, the Ministry of Medical Service and the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation. Two (2) of the respondents in the Case, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Inspector General of the National Police Service, filed their responses to the Petition on 22nd January 2014. The commencement of the hearing of evidence in this case (commencement of trial) began on 25th March 2014 and has been ongoing since then.

Project-Specific Goal:

Secure redress for and provide psychosocial support and assistance to Sexual and Gender Based Violence victims and survivors of the 2007/08 Post Election Violence.

Specific Objectives 

  • Facilitate access to redress, accountability and compensatory relief for representative constituent of Sexual and Gender Based Violence victims of the 2007/08 Post Election Violence vide conduct of a Public Interest Litigation case.
  • Establish a ground breaking precedent on reliefs available (and quantification of damages) to Sexual Gender Based Violence victims and survivors, within the civil litigation regime in Kenya.
  • Coordinate efforts of like-minded and ‘like-mandated’ Human Rights Institutions whose aim is to action for compensatory/reparative relief for and offer support and assistance to Sexual and Gender Based Violence victims of the 2007/08 Post Election Violence.
  • Create awareness on the plight of Sexual and Gender Based Violence victims of the 2007/08 Post Election Violence and on on-going initiatives by key stakeholders aimed at securing compensatory relief for the victims through Public Interest/Strategic Impact Litigation.
  • Contribute towards the implementation of national laws and policies on Sexual and Gender Based Violence through expanded engagement with duty bearers and advocacy at county, national, regional and international levels.