The 4 women that were subjected to sexual assault in Kenya during its election violence in 2007, have been mandated for a recompense following the country’s failure to investigate their cases as ruled by the judge.
On Thursday, December 10, the court has ordered the government to pay $36,000 (£27,000) to each of them.
More than 1,000 casualties were recorded and about 500,000 were displaced from their homes in the inter-ethnic violence that started in late December 2007 following its national election.
It was post-election violence after the then -incumbent president Mwai Kibaki was pronounced winner of the poll, Raila Odinga his major rival opposed the result and said it was rigged.
Current Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who supported Mr. Kibaki and his deputy William Ruto who backed Mr. Odinga – were charged by the International Criminal Court with crimes against humanity after they were accused of fuelling the violence. Both denied the charges, which were later dropped.
Activists have believed that Thursday’s judgment has set a precedent for hundreds of others who were abused in the wake of the election.
Despite some cases of post-electoral violence going to the International Criminal Court, only a very few prosecutions have happened.
Rights advocacy group, Physicians for Human Rights, helped the girls with their legal cases saying it hoped to “secure justice for the survivors”.
It said that the ruling was the “first time in Kenya that post-election sexual violence had been legitimately recognised”.
“Three of the four to receive compensation were assaulted by members of the security forces and so in effect, their rights to life and security were infringed by the state itself, “Justice Weldon Korir said in the ruling.
The fourth woman was attacked by an ordinary citizen, but the judge ruled that the state had violated her rights when the police failed to investigate her complaint.
There were four other people involved in the case, but Justice Korir said that as they had not reported their cases to the police, the state could not be found at fault.
“This is a historic day for survivors of the rampant sexual violence perpetrated in the aftermath of the 2007 election, who have waited for accountability for far too long,” said Naitore Nyamu, head of the Kenya office of Physicians for Human Rights”.
“The court’s decision will reverberate widely for the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of sexual and gender-based violence in Kenya and around the world”.