Kenya: In Landmark Ruling, High Court Orders Reinvestigation of Sexual Violence Cases
Monday, June 3, 2013 10:55 AM

In a landmark ruling, the Kenyan High Court in Maru ordered the reinvestigation of 11 rape complaints after determining that police had failed to conduct proper investigations at the time the incidences were reported. The case was filed by the charitable organization Ripples International on behalf of 264 girls between the ages of 3 and 18 who sought help and shelter from the organization after being raped and denied assistance from the police.

By refusing to investigate rape reports or demanding bribes to do so, and blaming victims for the incidences, the Court found that police had contributed to a climate of impunity for perpetrators of sexual violence. The Court stated that “Perpetrators know they can commit crimes against innocent children without fear of being apprehended and prosecuted.” This, the court said, made police officers directly responsible for the damages suffered by victims.  

“This glorious victory holds the police accountable,” said a team leader at Ripples International. “[N]ow they must hold perpetrators of the horrific crime accountable.” Police officers who failed to enforce the law could face arrest, fines and imprisonment, said the victims’ attorney Fiona Sampson of The Equality Effect. "It is a huge victory for the individual girls and for girls across Kenya and, I would say, Africa." The Equality Effect, which has supported similar cases in Malawi and Ghana, has indicated interest in extending its support throughout the region to affect broader change.
Compiled from: Kenyan High Court Demands Police Investigate Rape Cases, Feminist News (May 30, 2013); Migiro, Katy, Kenyan Girls Win Landmark Rape Case Against Police, Reuters (May 29, 2013); Police Ordered to Probe 11 Rape Cases Afresh, Daily Nation (May 29, 2013).