Friday, October 5, 2012

Mau mau veterans win torture case against Britain

Kenyan nationals, from left, Ndiku Mutua, Jane Muthoni Mara and Wambugu wa Nyingi are claiming compensation for alleged acts of brutality against them by the British colonial government during the 1950s Mau Mau rebellion. Their case opened in London on April 7.

Kenyan nationals, from left, Ndiku Mutua, Jane Muthoni Mara and Wambugu wa Nyingi are claiming compensation for alleged acts of brutality against them by the British colonial government during the 1950s Mau Mau rebellion. Their case opened in London on April 7.  

By Nation Reporter

London's High Court has allowed Mau Mau's compensation case against the British government to proceed despite a 50 year time lapse.

The case now to go to full trial.

The Judge, Mr Justice McCombe ruled that “…a fair trial on this part of the case does remain possible and that the evidence on both sides remains significantly cogent for the Court to complete its task satisfactorily.”

The Kenyan government has yet to issue a statement in response to the ruling.

The British High Commission in Nairobi however released a press statement immediately after the ruling was made to express its "disappointment" with the ruling and declared the British Government will seek an appeal.

"The British Government is disappointed with today’s (Friday) judgment. The judgment was not a finding of liability but a procedural decision following a preliminary hearing on limitation, which allows the cases to go to a full trial," the statement said.

It added: "The judgement has potentially significant and far reaching legal implications

"Since this is an important legal issue, we have taken the decision to appeal. In light of the legal proceedings it would not be appropriate for the Government to comment any further on the detail of the case."

In July 2012, three claimants won court approval in Britain to sue the British government over the brutality they claimed they suffered in the struggle.

Britain fears the case will open a floodgate of other claims.

This is the second time in two years that the British Government has lost in its efforts to use legal technicalities to have the case against it thrown out.

Last year it argued on the grounds that the Kenyan Government was legally responsible for any abuses committed by the British colony. The Court rejected those arguments in April 2011.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has accused Britain of neglecting its human-rights duties over a case brought by Kenyans allegedly abused by British colonial officials in the 1950s.

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