International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Victims of Kenya’s Post-Election Violence Still Destitute, Seeking Justice, Six Years Later

Many victims are still destitute, seeking justice or reparations, and are still suffering from the injuries they sustained during the violence that nearly tore apart Kenya six years ago, a new report has concluded.

“My husband remained in hospital for three years. Now he is never awake, he is just sleeping. He has to be carried everywhere,” Grace told Amnesty International. She is quoted in the human rights organisation’s latest report on victims’ perspectives on the post-election violence in Kenya. The report is titled, “Crying For Justice.” Amnesty International released the report last week in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Grace is one of 49 victims of the bloodshed that followed Kenya’s December 2007 presidential poll who were interviewed in-depth for Amnesty International’s report. The victims were interviewed between October and December 2013. They were from some of the areas worst affected by the post-election violence: Eldoret, Kericho, Kisumu, Kisii, Nairobi, Naivasha, and Nakuru.

Grace was a market trader near Eldoret when she and her family were attacked at their house on December 31, 2007. Her husband was injured in the spine and Grace was cut on her hand.

“My husband was the breadwinner. Now our life has changed. I’m the only one who can be depended on for school fees so our life has turned. Our business collapsed and there is no capital to start again,” said Grace, a mother of six children.

“Crying For Justice” is also based on interviews with senior government officials, members of civil society organizations, staff of the International Criminal Court, and others. The report also has analysis of official reports on the post-election violation and reviews government and legislative actions in response to those reports.

There have been a limited number of cases related to the post-election violence in the Kenyan criminal justice system. One of the reasons prosecutors and police give for this is that cases were not reported to the police or if they were, the complainants were unable to identify their attackers.

Of the 49 victims interviewed by Amnesty International, 34 of them tried to report the violations committed against them to the police. They made their complaints to the police immediately, a day later, months later or, in the extreme, a year later. Those who reported to the police a year later said they did so because they had to flee where they were living and only returned much later or they were recuperating from gunshot injuries.

Only one of the victims told Amnesty International that the police followed up on their report. Others told Amnesty International that the police officers they reported complaints to demanded bribes for them to follow up their cases. Others said police threatened them when they went to report crimes.

Police spokeswoman Zipporah Mboroki declined to comment on the Amnesty International report.

“I cannot comment on something I have not seen,” Mboroki told International Justice Monitor.

In the course of their research, Amnesty International interviewed the overall head of Kenya’s police service, Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo. He told Amnesty International that investigations into the post-election violence are still open, and the police were also waiting for direction from the Director of Public Prosecutions on whether they should pursue different lines of inquiry.

Thirty-seven of the victims interviewed said they had not received any assistance, whether financial or medical or otherwise to help them resettle or cope with their injuries.

“The good thing for government to do is compensation and full support to all victims. There are several people who can’t walk, others who lost their hands. With medical attention … we have pain particularly in the rainy season … so medical attention should be given to victims,” Edward told Amnesty International.

Twelve of the victims interviewed received some money from the government to help them resettle. The amount they received ranged from 10,000 shillings to 35,000 shillings per family. Those who received financial assistance told Amnesty International it was too little.

One of them is Patricia who told Amnesty International that her and her family fled Kericho in January 2008 when Luo and Kalenjin started targeting Kikuyu in the area. She said her husband’s business was burned down, and she lost materials she used in her work as a pastor. She said they then stayed in a camp for the internally displaced in Naivasha. After six months they left because Patricia said she was not accepted in the camp. Most of the camp’s residents were Kikuyu like her husband. Patricia is a Luhya.

“The government has not helped us apart from the 10,000 shillings when we left the camps. On the one hand they have tried – some of my colleagues were helped with houses. But I’ve not head of any of the integrated being helped. I have all the documents to prove I came from Kericho but we have not been helped in any way,” Patricia said.

The majority of victims Amnesty International interviewed support the International Criminal Court (ICC) process. Some of them wonder why the ICC is trying only two cases and not more. A minority of the victims said they wanted the ICC cases stopped in the interest of peace.

“I would like to see justice done and the truth unfolded so I can at least feel better psychologically and so people in the country can learn lessons. So for that reason I would like [the ICC cases] to proceed and be concluded,” said Jane, who now lives in Kisii. She told Amnesty International she was living in Eldoret when she was raped and fled her home during the post-election violence.

“The leaders came from different tribes, they saw what happened and have come together to say “we are one.” So there is no need to take these people to The Hague. It’s enough to prevent further violence happening,” said Ruth, who lives in Naivasha. She told Amnesty International she fled Eldoret after her property was burned and looted.

The report makes a number of recommendations for the Kenyan government and its autonomous agencies, the ICC, and the African Union.

You can read the full report on the Amnesty International website.

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