Eleven rape victims have scored a victory against the police following a legal battle that also exposed the ineptness of the officers in investigating such cases.
The High Court in Meru ordered the Inspector-General of Police and the Director of Public Prosecutions to investigate afresh 11 rape cases which had either been bungled or stalled due to shoddy investigations.
“The 1st respondent (Inspector-General of Police) together with his agents, delegates and/or subordinates to conduct prompt, effective, proper and professional investigations into the 1st to 11th petitioners’ complaints of defilement and other forms of sexual violence,” ruled Mr Justice James Makau.
The case, which was followed worldwide, was filed by Ripples International, a charitable organisation in Meru which has sheltered 264 rape victims.
The organisation argued that the police had failed to conduct proper investigations on the 11 cases leading to their dismissal by the courts.
On Monday, Justice Makau ruled that failure by the police violated the girls’ rights as enshrined in the Constitution and international conventions.
The suit also exposed heart-rending stories of how children are abused by their relatives or neighbours and the humiliation that follows when they report their ordeals to the police.
Ms Mercy Chidi, the team leader at Ripples International, welcomed the ruling, saying it gave hope for justice to 10,000 victims of defilement and police inaction.
“I want defilement of girls to stop. This glorious victory holds the police accountable, and now they must hold perpetrators of the horrific crime accountable.”
Ms Patricia Nyaundi, the executive director of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, said police could no longer fail to act on rape cases.