COVAW, IMLU et al v. Attorney-General of Kenya et al

Following the announcement of election results in Kenya on 30 December 2007, widespread violence erupted in the entire country until March 2008. Women were subjected to rape, attempted rape, defilement, attempted defilement, gang rape, forced pregnancy, and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Men experienced sodomy, forced circumcision and amputation of their penises as specific forms of SGBV. The police often refused to document and investigate reports of SGBV victims. Access medical services was sometimes denied by the state-run hospitals. Perpetrators of SGBV included members of the Kenya Police Service, Administrative Police and other state security agents as well as non-state actors. To date, none of the conflict-related SGBV crimes were investigated and prosecuted by Kenyan authorities and SGBV victims do not have access to any form of reparation.

On 20 February 2014, four Kenyan civil society organisations, including the Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW), Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU), Kenyan Section of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), together with eight SGBV survivors filed a constitutional petition at the Constitutional and Human Rights Division of the High Court of Kenya in Nairobi against  a number of national authorities, including the Attorney General of Kenya, the Director of Public Prosecution of Kenya, the Independent Police Oversight Authority, the Inspector-General of National Police Service of Kenya, the Minister for Medical Services of Kenya and the Minister for Public Health and Sanitation of Kenya. The petitioners claim that Kenyan authorities failed to protect civilians during the post-election violence in 2007/2008 when numerous forms of SGBV were committed against women, men, girls and boys. They also claim that authorities have not fulfilled their obligation to investigate and prosecute SGBV crimes afterwards and to provide reparations to the victims.

The court hearings which started on 23 March 2014 are currently on-going. On 27 August 2014, REDRESS was granted leave to file an amicus brief on the international legal framework as well as international and regional jurisprudence on the state obligation towards SGBV victims, with a focus on reparation measures.


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