Victory for survivors of sexual assault in Kenya

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Globe and Mail is reporting today on a landmark decision out of the High Court of Kenya in the "160 Girls" litigation, which was launched by IHRP partner Equality Effect and two Kenyan NGOs, the Federation of Women Lawyers and Ripples International Women's Shelter. This case was brought on behalf of women and girls seeking meaningful enforcement of Kenya's rape laws. The IHRP helped develop the international human rights analysis for this case, and clinic students Sylvie McCallum Rougerie and Meghan Lindo produced legal memos on the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the due diligence standard in international law. They also conducted a detailed analysis of comparative police standards across common law jurisdictions.

As reported by The Globe and Mail:

By failing to act on the rape cases, the police had created a "climate of impunity," the court said in its ruling, seven months after the court challenge began.

Because of this impunity, "the perpetrators know they can commit crimes against innocent children without fear of being apprehended and prosecuted," the court said.

This makes the police "directly responsible" for the physical and psychological damage suffered by the rape victims, the court ruled.

UPDATE ** The High Court of Kenya's decision is available here.